Orchestras

Prelude Orchestra


Membership Requirements


The Austin Youth Orchestra Academy Prelude Orchestra is limited to sixth and seventh grade students with one semester of orchestra class who are interested in supplemental training. The Orchestra will follow an advanced curriculum for rapid advancement, and will meet on Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the spring semester of this school year at Austin High School.


Membership in the Austin Youth Prelude Orchestra is open to sixth and seventh grade students who qualify through the audition process. Students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra program and upon payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Prelude Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 6:00-7:00 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


To be determined.

Concertante Orchestra


Membership Requirements


The Concertante Orchestra is a string orchestra that is designed for beginning musicians with limited reading experience. The Concertante Orchestra focuses on developing internal rhythm, note recognition, reading skills, and fundamental ensemble skills.


Membership in the Austin Youth Concertante Orchestra is open to all interested students grade first to fifth who qualify through the audition process. Students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra program and payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Concertante Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 6:00-7:00 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


Originally from Mexico City, Mr. Fidencio Solis is the Director of Orchestras at Chapa and Simon MS in Hays CISD. He previously taught at O. Henry Middle School for 16 years in the Austin Independent School District, and he was Director for the Gulfport School District in Mississippi. Mr. Solis also serves as Austin Youth Orchestra Organizer. Mr. Soli­s holds a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. In addition, he is certified in Suzuki Method.

Mr. Solis has contributed his expertise to the Austin Youth Orchestra for 16 years and gives his time to fellow music educators and their projects. He plays chamber music, performs with community orchestras and freelances around town. He enjoys sharing time with family and friends, making people laugh, making and listening to music, going to the movies, and traveling.


Contact Mr. Solis at mr.solis@AustinYouthOrchestra.org

Intermezzo Orchestra


Membership Requirements


Membership in the Austin Youth Intermezzo Orchestra is open to all interested students grades 3 to 8 who qualify through the audition process. Students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra program and payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Intermezzo Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 6:00-7:00 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


Ms. Dana Wygmans, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, holds a Bachelor's in Music Education from Alma College in Michigan and a Master's in Bass Performance from University of Texas at Austin, where she studied with DaXun Zhang. During her stint at UT, Dana also taught with the UT String Project and studied with Dr. Laurie Scott. She has played with a variety of orchestras in both Michigan and Texas, including the Alma Symphony, Grand Valley Symphony, Round Rock Symphony, UT Symphony Orchestra, UT New Music Ensemble, and UT Wind Ensemble. Dana currently performs in a wide array of settings, including classical, jazz, bluegrass, soul, rock, and folk groups. She currently performs with Austin bands American Dreamer and Magnolia Kids, among many others.


She is currently the Director of Orchestra Education with Austin Soundwaves and bass professor at Austin Community College. Previously, she served as UT String Project Assistant Director and Director of Orchestras at Murchison Middle School. She has been teaching privately for nearly 15 years, and her students have ranged from beginners of all ages to advanced college-bound young adults. She has been teaching orchestra classes for almost 10 years.


In her spare time, Dana loves to garden, eat cookies, and hang out with her cats Jeremy, Penny, and Dan.


Contact Ms. Wygmans at MsWygmans@AustinYouthOrchestra.org

Camerata Orchestra


Membership Requirements


Membership in the Austin Youth Camerata Orchestra is open to all interested students grades 4 to 8 who qualify through the audition process. Students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra program and payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Camerata Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 6:00-7:00 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


Josue Martinez is the Director of Orchestras at Westlake High School. Mr. Martinez started teaching in Eanes ISD in 2016 as the Assistant Director of Orchestras at West Ridge Middle School before joining the high school faculty in 2021. Mr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Music Education (2016) and a Masters of Music in Instrumental Conducting (2019) from Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. While at Texas State, Mr. Martinez performed with numerous concert ensembles, including the Texas State Symphony Orchestra, Texas State Opera Orchestra, and the Texas State Wind Symphony.


Mr. Martinez is an active musician in the Greater Austin Area as a freelance double bass player and works with the Austin Youth Orchestra Acadamy's Camerata orchestra as their conductor.


Mr. Martinez is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, American String Teacher’s Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association, International Society of Bassists, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, and many more local and international organizations.


When Mr. Martinez is not working or studying, he can be found at home with his two terriers, Artemis and Buster.


Contact Mr. Martinez at MrMartinez@AustinYouthOrchestra.org

Sinfonietta Orchestra


Membership Requirements


Membership in the Austin Youth Sinfonietta Orchestra is open to all interested students in grade 6 and above who qualify through the audition process. String students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Wind and percussion students must be members in good standing in their school band programs. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra/band director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra/band program and payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Sinfonietta Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 7:15-8:30 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


Rachel Horvitz received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001. While at UT she studied under distinguished cello professor Phyllis Young and regularly performed with the UT Cello Choir and the UT Symphony, along with teaching in the UT String Project. In 2013 she earned a Masters in Secondary Education from Texas State University as part of the Partnership for Teacher Excellence Program sponsored by the Eanes Education Foundation. Ms. Horvitz has just concluded her twentieth year of teaching in the Austin public schools, including Director of Orchestras at Hill Country Middle School in Eanes ISD from 2008 to 2021 and previously at Lamar Middle School in Austin ISD from 2001 to 2008. During her tenure at HCMS the Hill Country Middle School Full Orchestra was named the Texas Music Educators Association Full Honor Orchestra. The HCMS Full Orchestra went on to earn an invitation to perform at the 71st Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in December 2017. She is currently the Orchestra Director at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin ISD. She has coached with Longhorn Music Camp and the Austin Chamber Music Center and serves as a region clinician and UIL adjudicator in Central Texas. She has served as conducting faculty with Austin Youth Orchestra for a collective nine years and is currently in her fourth year as conductor of the Sinfonietta Orchestra.


Her professional memberships include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association and Texas Music Adjudicators Association. Ms. Horvitz has dedicated much of her free time to performing in local orchestras and chamber groups including Temple and Georgetown Symphony and Musical Discovery Chamber Players. In her spare time she enjoys reading, listening to records, making the perfect cup of coffee, gardening and planning her next trip to the beach.


Contact Ms. Horvitz at MsHorvitz@AustinYouthOrchestra.org

Philharmonic Orchestra


Membership Requirements


Membership in the Austin Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is open to all interested students in grade 6 and above who qualify through the audition process. String students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Wind and percussion students must be members in good standing in their school band programs. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra/band director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra/band program and payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Philharmonic Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 7:15-9:00 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


Anna Macias has served as the Director of Orchestras at Lake Travis High School in the Lake Travis ISD since 1996 and has served as a conductor with the Austin Youth Orchestras since 2003. Ms. Macias has served as an organizer for the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) High School Region Orchestra since 1999. Since 2002, she has served as a faculty member of the Texas State University Strings Camp. Ms. Macias is affiliated with TMEA, Texas Orchestra Directors Association (TODA), Texas Music Adjudicators Association (TMAA), and Mu Omicron.


In addition to her work with public schools, Ms. Macias maintains a private double bass studio. A graduate of Southwest Texas State University with a degree in Music Education, she has studied Double Bass with Xuang Yuan Lu, David Neubert, and Howard Hudiburg. Ms. Macias has participated in master classes with Gary Karr and attended the Northwestern Bass Camp, hosted by Jeff Bradetich. She has performed with the Balcones Orchestra, the Mid-Texas Symphony, the Abilene Symphony, and the Brazos Valley Symphony. Ms. Macias currently performs with the Temple Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys playing the double bass in musical productions and has performed in several popular shows around Austin during the past decade.


Ms. Macias is an active freelance bassist who has been a member of two Salsa bands and a Western Swing band. In 1997, she attended the Texas Music Camp, hosted by Johnny Gimble, and fell in love with Texas old time fiddling and Western Swing music. In 2000, Ms. Macias formed the Lake Travis Fiddlers, a group of talented middle school and high school students who perform old time fiddle tunes and Western Swing music at various hill country functions.


Contact Ms. Macias at MsMacias@AustinYouthOrchestra.org

Symphony Orchestra


Membership Requirements


Membership in the Austin Youth Symphony Orchestra is open to all interested students in grade 9 and above who qualify through the audition process. String students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Wind and percussion students must be members in good standing in their school band programs. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra/band director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra/band program and payment of the tuition fee.


Rehearsals


The Symphony Orchestra rehearses fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings from 7:15-9:00 pm. All rehearsals are at Austin High School.


Conductor


Mr. Ricky Pringle is the Director of Orchestras at McCallum High School. The enrollment of the orchestra has more than tripled during his time at McCallum High School. Under his baton, string ensembles consistently earn UIL Sweepstakes awards. Ricky Pringle with the McCallum High School orchestras have had several performances at some of the country's best concert venues including The National Cathedral, the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Mr. Pringle studied double bass and holds Bachelor of Music and Music Education degrees from LSU in Baton Rouge Louisiana. Mr. Pringle continues to perform as a double bassist around Central Texas as well as maintaining a private studio of double bass students. Mr. Pringle appeared in the November 2012 issue of Strad magazine.


Contact Mr. Pringle at MrPringle@AustinYouthOrchestra.org


Mr. Garth Gundersen is the Head Band Director at James Bowie High School in Austin, Texas. The Bowie High School Band is a large 6A program in south Austin with 5 Concert Bands, 3 Jazz Bands, 3 Steel Drum Bands, 2 competitive Winter Guards, and the James Bowie Outdoor Performing Ensemble. Mr. Gundersen directs the Outdoor Performing Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and coordinates all ensembles within the Bowie Band Program. The Bowie Band is a consistent UIL Sweepstakes winner, has won the Sudler Shield multiple times and is a consistent BOA and UIL State Marching Band finalist.


Prior to Bowie, Gundersen taught for 16 years as the Director of Bands at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas. Gundersen started the band in 2003 at the opening of the school. Under his direction, the Hendrickson High School Band was a consistent UIL State Marching Band participant, BOA finalist and UIL Sweepstakes winner. Under Gundersen's direction, the Hawk Band performed at Midwest in Chicago, WIBC in Seattle, and The Macy,s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.


Mr. Gundersen earned his Master's degree in Music Education and Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied with Jerry Junkin, Bob Duke, and Paula Crider. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Louisiana State University, where he studied with Frank Wickes and was the drum major of the Golden Band from Tiger Land. Prior to becoming the band director at Hendrickson High School, Gundersen was an assistant at Westlake High School and became the first Band Director at W. Charles Akins High School in Austin.


Gundersen is a frequent adjudicator and clinician. He is a member of TMEA, TBA, TMAA and Pi Kappa Lamba. Mr. Gundersen resides in Cedar Park, Texas with his wife, Kim, and their boys, Aiden and Reese Gundersen.


Contact Mr. Gundersen at ...