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Youth Symphony

Santa Barbara Youth Symphony

For Advanced Players

Heralded as “…a prestigious group of young, talented musicians…” by Santa Barbara Seasons magazine, the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony brings together 70-80 gifted musicians, ages 12-18, from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to perform works across the orchestral repertoire. This advanced ensemble instills the discipline and commitment that budding young professionals need for the next step in their careers, whether in music or another field.

The Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with Westmont College. Under the overarching artistic and curriculum oversight of our Music & Artistic Director, Nir Kabaretti  and Westmont’s Dr. Michael Shasberger, the partnership brings additional resources to our music education program, new opportunities for our students, and completes our pipeline of connected programs from elementary school, to college and on to a professional orchestra.

“The student experience in the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony is totally unique. Where else can my child learn and perform musical masterpieces in a symphony orchestra made up of their peers? The environment is so fun and supportive, rehearsals are the highlight of our week!”

Program Highlights

  • Weekly rehearsals with Dr. Yvette Devereaux.
  • Three public performances at the historic Lobero Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara.
  • Students and their families are provided opportunities to attend masterclasses, Santa Barbara Symphony concerts at reduced cost, and other musical community events.
  • Special online courses in music history and music theory designed and delivered by Westmont faculty.

Participant Guidelines

  • Level: Advanced
  • Open to woodwind, brass, percussion, and string instrumentalists.
  • Students rehearse during the school year from September through May.
    Rehearsal commitment is every Sunday from 6-8:30pm.
  • Students are also expected to practice their instruments and review assigned material outside of scheduled programming.
  • COVID-19 UPDATE: Student safety is our priority and we continue to closely monitor guidelines from the Public Health Department. Fall 2020 instruction will be conducted online with virtual sectionals, online masterclasses, and asynchronous digital content designed to enhance the experience. We will reevaluate how we deliver instruction in Spring 2021.

2020-21 Audition Information

Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our students, teachers, and staff during COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 season auditions were moved to the online platform, Acceptd.  This platform allows students to upload their video audition, answer application questions, and apply for tuition scholarships all in one place.

Applications are now closed for the 2020-21 season. Students can review their submissions with the application link below.

Audition Requirements

  • Visit the Acceptd website to complete your application:
  • Scales and Arpeggios:
    • String players prepare a 3 octave major and minor scale and arpeggio of your choosing AND a 3 octave chromatic scale.
    • Woodwind and brass players prepare a 2 or 3 (if possible) octave scale and arpeggio of your choosing AND a two-octave chromatic scale.
  • NEW this year! Download and prepare audition excerpts from below according to your instrument.
  • Download and prepare audition excerpts according to your instrument from the links below
  • A solo piece, which best demonstrates both technical and musical skills on the instrument (no accompanist needed).
    • Percussionists please prepare a solo piece or excerpt on the snare drum.

2020-2021 Tuition


As a non-profit, generous annual donations from Symphony supporters enable us to keep Tuition fees to a minimum.  Tuition applies to the 2020-21 season. Need-based Scholarships are available and information regarding these can be found on the application form. Admitted musicians will not be turned away due to finances. If tuition is a challenge, please reach out to the Director of Education at 805-898-1417.

Support this program!

Would you like to join our family of donors and support this program? Annual donations at any level have a big impact. They can fund scholarships, help pay our faculty, provide instruments and more! 

Support The Santa Barbara Symphony

Your support matters now more than ever!
Please make a donation today.