The Philharmonic Association offers multi-level programming and currently sponsors five orchestras, three jazz ensembles, and three chamber groups that serve almost five hundred youth musicians annually through year-round programming. Our organization seeks to provide both beginning ensemble training in supportive non-competitive environments, as well as top-level groups that inspire serious young musicians selected through a rigorous audition process. Financial Assistance is available for any of our programs.

Full Orchestras
The Philharmonic Association sponsors three levels of full orchestra for strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion musicians in grades 4 – 12. New musicians should look at the Skill Sheets to understand the three levels. Participation is by annual audition in late summer. All three orchestras perform in Meymandi Concert Hall twice a year. The Triangle Youth Philharmonic, our most advanced ensemble, has been the official youth orchestra of the North Carolina Symphony since 1993 and performs full-length concerts of professional level repertoire. The Triangle Youth Symphony annually performs two hour-long concerts of individual symphonic movements and other advanced-intermediate repertoire. The Triangle Youth Orchestra shares a concert evening with the Symphony and performs intermediate level arrangements of well-known classical pieces as well as original works composed for educational purposes. All three full orchestras receive sectional coaching from members of the North Carolina Symphony (see video below). Interested musicians should review the audition page to register.

String Orchestras

The Philharmonic Association offers two levels of string orchestra for violin, viola, cello and bass musicians. The Triangle Youth String Orchestra provides an encouraging atmosphere for young string players, grades 4 – 6, to learn ensemble skills. Members should be able to read music and have prior experience, such as private lessons or school orchestra. These are examples of TYSO repertoire. There is no audition required to participate in TYSO. One week before the first TYSO rehearsal, the conductor will become acquainted with each participant’s playing, by hearing a line from a solo, to provide the best possible experience in the orchestra.  A summer session for the Triangle Youth String Orchestra is also offered. The Triangle Youth String Sinfonia is open to musicians in grades 7 – 12 who are able to perform the Sinfonia Skill Sheets at a proficient level. These are examples of Sinfonia repertoire. Returning members who want to be considered for section leader positions, or to move from the second violin section to the first, should also play the skill sheet for the conductor. Interested musicians should view the non-auditioned info page.

Jazz Ensembles

There are four levels of jazz ensemble available through the Philharmonic Association during the school term and two during the summer. All the groups study and perform big band literature of all genres. Performance venues include the Cary Arts Center and the North Carolina Museum of History. The Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble is an award winning advanced group for predominantly high school players. The ensemble participates in the national Essentially Ellington competition through Jazz at Lincoln Center as well as the regional festival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Auditions for the school term occur in late August and for the summer session in late spring. The Triangle Youth Jazz Orchestra is also for predominantly high school players and participates in the regional Essentially Ellington festival. The Triangle Youth Jazz Band is players with less experience or who are in middle school. The Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra and Band are all auditioned groups with auditions occurring just prior to the school term or summer session. The Triangle Youth Jazz Lab provides beginning jazz ensemble training for musicians 4th grade and above with the goal of eventual transition to the Triangle Youth Jazz Band or Triangle Youth Jazz Orchestra.  The Triangle Youth Jazz Lab is a non-auditioned ensemble, and musicians will be selected based on experience, desire to participate, family support for participation, and big-band jazz ensemble instrumentation. Interested musicians should review the Jazz audition page to register or the non-auditioned info page.

Chamber Ensembles
Members of our full orchestras are encouraged to form a standard chamber group such as a string trio or quartet and woodwind or brass quintet, and seek Philharmonic Association sponsorship. A brief audition as an ensemble will be required of new groups. Membership in a Philharmonic Association Chamber Ensemble is considered an honor and only groups that represent high artistic standards will be sponsored. Groups will receive up to two coaching sessions by area professional musicians approved by the Philharmonic Association.





For a sampling of our programs in 2018, watch this video:

NC Symphony Affiliation

Over our history, the PA has enjoyed the support of the North Carolina Symphony’s artistic staff. Our young musicians of the PA have been privileged to perform under the direction of many of the conductors of the North Carolina Symphony.

Performances: 1990s

In 1993, TYP performed Wagner’s Rienzi Overture under the direction of North Carolina Symphony Artistic Director, Gerhardt Zimmermann. TYP performed on a North Carolina Symphony Young People’s Concert directed by Jackson Parkhurst in 1994 and was conducted by Michael Jimbo, North Carolina Symphony Assistant Conductor, in the finale of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. North Carolina Symphony Associate Conductor, William Henry Curry, led TYP in the North Carolina Premier of his composition Eulogy in 1997.

Coaching & Adjudication

Since 1988, young musicians of the PA have had the annual opportunity to work with numerous members of the Symphony as coaches and adjudicators. The North Carolina Symphony began funding the 21 coaches used for sectional rehearsals for our three orchestras in the spring of 2008. With these close ties it naturally followed that in 1993 our Triangle Youth Philharmonic became the official youth orchestra of the North Carolina Symphony.

Performances: 2000s

NC Symphony Music Director, Grant Llewellyn, conducts TYP in 2008.

In 2000, Mr. Curry again led TYP in Still’s Fanfare for American Heroes and provided the narration for Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait. That same year, Maestro Zimmermann conducted TYS in a performance of Sibelius’ Finlandia. In 2006, TYP performed Elgar’s Enigma Variations with the North Carolina Symphony’s Music Director, Grant Llewellyn. Maestro Llewellyn returned in 2008 to conduct Vaughan Williams A London Symphony. NCS Assistant Conductor, Joan Landry, conducted TYS in the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony in Spring of 2009.

Meet Our Supporters

The Philharmonic Association wishes to thank and acknowledge the following organizations and corporations for their funding support.