Auditions for 2024-25 are open deadline is May 16

For all the details check under the Auditions & Competitions Tab above.

Spring Drive for Donations 2024 Donate Now!

Our Spring Drive has started.  Attached is a LETTER from Duo Shen.  If you can share the excitement of our talented musicians and their experiences with people who will support the Youth Symphony & Classical Orchestra, we deeply appreciate it. We only have 2 fund drives a year: Spring and Fall.  We hope to continue to keep our costs reasonable and provide the best quality of musical training for these gifted students.  

Next Youth Symphony Performance !!

festival 2024 june 7, 8 & 9
Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Youth Symphony
Friday, June 7, 2023
Performance time:

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Annual Award Winners for 2024. 

These students were recognized in our Spring Concert May 5, 2024 in DeVos Hall.  The outstanding students have been chosen by our director Duo Shen.  It is also a pleasure to announce that this year the award money for the Outstanding Senior, and Director’s Awards for Youth Symphony & Classical Orchestra have been underwritten by the Gates Foundation. Congratulations!

Anderson Award – Martha Maxfield

Outstanding Senior – Caden Dennie

Director’s Award YS – Charisse Ujlaky

Director’s Award CO – Connor Berrington

Our Spring Concert 2024 was Sunday, May 5, 3:00 pm, at DeVos Performance Hall Downtown Grand Rapids and featured the first place winners of the Skip Gates Concerto Competition. What an exciting & motivation event! Thanks everyone who attended!!!

Maddox Lewis, Clarinet, winner of the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony Skip Gates Concerto Competition, is a junior at Allendale High School. He quickly discovered his love for music when he joined band in sixth grade. He began taking private lessons with Dr. Gary June in 7th grade. Throughout high school, Maddox has participated in marching band, wind ensemble and jazz band under the direction of Mr. Ryan Broome. Maddox is also a member of the clarinet studio at GVSU and receives lessons from Dr Arthur Campbell in addition to Dr. June. For the last two summers Maddox has enjoyed attending the Illinois Summer Youth Music pre-college clarinet summer program. Maddox was selected to the MSBOA All State middle school band in 2021, All State High School Orchestra in 2023, and principal of that same group in 2024. He participates in MSBOA Solo and Ensemble where he receives top scores at both the district and state levels. In 2023, years he was nominated for the Outstanding Soloist Competition and was selected as a finalist. Maddox was the 2023 winner of the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band youth soloist competition. He also competed in the 2023 NMTA concerto competition where he was named state alternate winner. Maddox plans to pursue a career in clarinet performance after high school. Outside of music, Maddox enjoys learning about history, being involved in his church and collecting vintage video games.

Nicholas Parlmer, Violin, winner of the Classical Orchestra Skip Gates Concerto Competition, was born with a love of music in San Jose, California and is home schooled. He is 2 years ahead in school, at 12th grade level and studying college level material. He is fluent in Spanish and studying German.

He started piano and singing classes when he was 6 years old. When he was 8 years old, he moved to Tucson and joined the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and sang first soprano. With the chorus he sang in as many as 15 concerts every year and even performed at the National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House for 2 years in a row. While in Tucson he added numerous instruments to his repertoire including guitar, ukulele cello, violin, viola and Navajo flute. He sang and played violin and guitar at his church. He moved to Grand Rapids in the spring of 2022. He joined the Grand Rapids Men and Boys’ Choir as a first soprano, the Grand Rapids Classical Orchestra as a violinist and plays violin at church.

He is passionate about violin and piano. He is blessed with a fantastic violin teacher Elizabeth Basoff an incredible violinist and pianist in Viena, Austria. His favorite violin composers are Bach, Mendelsohn, Vivaldi, and Paganini. For piano/singing his favorite is “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”. He likes Two Set Violin and concurs with Ling Ling style, “you must practice 40 hours a day” to be good!

The 2024 Skip Gates Concerto Winners

Classical Orchestra:

First Prize: Nicholas Parlmer, Vivaldi Violin Concerto in A minor

Second Prize: Andreas Krapp, Vivaldi Violin Concerto in G minor

Youth Symphony:

First Prize: Maddox Lewis, Bernhard Henrik Crusell Clarinet Concerto No. 1 First Movement

Second Prize: Heming Liang, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor Third Movement

Third Prize: Kaitlyn Lawrence, Mozart Concerto in G First Movement

Fourth Prize: Caden Dennie, Strauss Horn Concerto in C minor

Fifth Prize: Yewon Choi, Mozart No. 3 in G Major First Movement

GRYS Piano Competition Winner for 2024

 Winner: Noah Carr, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 8 in C major K. 246 Movement 1

Runner Up: Mijeong Lee, Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102, III. Allegro

The Piano finalist will perform in the SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25th concert accompanied by the Youth Symphony. 

Noah Carr is a freshman at Grand Valley State University from Muskegon, Michigan. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and currently studies under Dr. Sookkyung

Cho. He started taking lessons at the age of eleven. In 2023, Noah graduated from Mona Shores High School where he performed piano with the school symphony orchestra, jazz band, and wind ensemble. He played his senior recital for friends, family, and supporters at The Block in downtown Muskegon. Noah discovered his passion for piano at age 16. He has been attending public performances and immersing himself into music ever since. When he is not practicing, Noah enjoys composing music, exercising at the gym, and drawing landscapes.

200 Minute Challenge is over !! —-> Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Patron & Friends Fall Fund Drive 2023

The Fall Fund Drive for 2023 is underway. It  is an important time for the future of the Youth Symphony & Classical Orchestra. We are in need of our patrons this fall to help with the financial funding of our season. Please read our Fund Letter to see how we are managing the beginning of our season with our new music director, Duo Shen. Please consider becoming or continuing to be a patron of our organization.

Read Duo Shen’s letter to you >> Donate Now!

Our first Fall Concert was a great success! Thank you to everyone who took part of this inspiring event!

An exciting season 2023-24 with Duo Shen, Conductor

I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra to help shape the future of classical music! I look forward to working and living in such a vibrant city while serving its wonderful people and the community.”

Two instrumental ensembles featuring some of West Michigan’s most talented young musicians

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