“SEMYO has made me a better player overall and has really expanded my knowledge. The thing I like most about SEMYO is how devoted the kids in it are. There are some really talented musicians in SEMYO, so it keeps me motivated and makes SEMYO a lot of fun for me.”

Annika (SEMYO Concert Orchestra Member)


Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO) is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for students in grades 4-12 to rehearse and perform in a symphony orchestra. We have 150 members who perform in four orchestras on string, woodwind, brass, or percussion instruments. Each orchestra accommodates students across a wide range of ages and abilities.

Through participation in our SEMYO ensembles students discover the joy of performing music, become better musicians, and come together as a team to perform orchestral masterworks. Students value SEMYO for the challenging repertoire, friendships made with other musicians, and the opportunity to play in an ensemble with like-minded peers. Parents value SEMYO for the quality of instruction, passionate and caring leadership of the staff, and the sense of belonging it provides for its members.

In addition to full orchestra rehearsal and performance led by professional conductors, students have coaching sessions with professional musicians and teachers, opportunities to play in small ensembles, and the opportunity to compete in an annual concerto competition.

SEMYO orchestras meet on Saturday mornings during the school year and perform a variety of informal and formal concerts throughout the community.

SEMYO student Claire discusses what she enjoys most about SEMYO and how it has helped her to grow as a musician. SEMYO is accepting recorded auditions for the 2021-2022 season between April 1 and June 6, 2021.


SEMYO seeks enthusiastic students to audition for our ensembles for the 2021-2022 season. Because SEMYO offers ensembles for all levels of ability, the acceptance rate is very high. Placement in SEMYO ensemble is based on musical performance aptitude. SEMYO will accept audition videos between April 1 and June 6, 2021 . Click here to learn more about auditions and sign up.

SEMYO Orchestras

Bravura Strings

New in 2020, Bravura Strings is an ensemble for student musicians who play violin, viola, cello, or bass with 1-2 years of playing experience. This is a fun, low-key ensemble for young string players who want to improve in skill while making music with friends.  Learn More.

Chamber Strings

Chamber Strings is a string orchestra for students who play violin, viola, cello or bass with 2 or more years playing experience (or Suzuki grade 3).  Learn more.

Philharmonic Orchestra

Full orchestra experience for students of all ages on string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. String players typically need a minimum of 3-4 years experience, wind players 2 or more years experience. Literature includes arranged and original works. Learn more.

Concert Orchestra

Southeastern Minnesota’s premier student instrumental ensemble, the Concert Orchestra is a full orchestra experience for advanced students on string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Literature includes original masterworks for full symphony orchestra. Learn more.



Ensembles rehearse 2-3 hours each week on Saturday mornings in Rochester during the school year.

SEMYO is divided into three trimesters: fall, winter, and spring. Students are encouraged to participate in SEMYO for the full year. However, students may skip a trimester if it conflicts with other activities.


SEMYO ensembles perform three formal concerts per year at the end of each trimester before a paying audience. Tentative concert dates for 2021-2022 are November 14, February 27, and May 15. 

SEMYO Ensembles also perform for special events and outreach concerts.

Participation Fees

The SEMYO season consists of three trimesters per year (Fall, Winter, and Spring), each ending in a concert. Participation fees will be due at the first rehearsal of each concert cycle – September, November, and March.

Tentative Costs for 2021-2022

Annual Registration Fee: $40

Bravura Strings: $150 per trimester
Chamber Strings: $190 per trimester
Philharmonic: $210 per trimester
Concert Orchestra: $240 per trimester

Scholarships are available based on financial need. SEMYO is also offering instrument incentive scholarships for students who play bass, viola, low-brass, and bassoon.  Learn more.

Participation fees cover tuition, tours, and required activities. Additional costs for optional enrichment activities may be incurred.

Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO) seeks to be an organization that values cultural inclusivity and which offers physically and programmatically accessible environments to individuals with disabilities in rehearsals, performances or special events

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