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 over 250 members who perform in five 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.

All SEMYO participants are asked to submit an audition video so we can get to know the students and place them in the ensemble that best fits their ability level. Placement in SEMYO ensemble is based on musical performance aptitude. SEMYO will be accepting video auditions for the 2024-2025 season between April 1 and May 30 and new audition materials are available.  Click here to learn more about auditions and sign up.


SEMYO Orchestras

Prelude Winds

Prelude Winds is a fun, educational ensemble for young musicians who play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. Students who are starting grades 5-8 with 1-2 years’ experience on any band instruments are invited to audition. Learn More.

Prelude Winds will meet Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 AM.

Bravura Strings

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.

Bravura Strings meets Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 AM.

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.

Chamber Strings meets Saturday mornings from 10 AM -Noon. 

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.

Philharmonic Orchestra meets Saturday mornings from 9:30 AM to Noon

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.

Concert Orchestra meets Saturday mornings from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM


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. Click here for information on upcoming SEMYO events. 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.

Current Tuition Costs

Annual Registration Fee: $50

Bravura Strings: $150 per trimester
Chamber Strings: $195 per trimester
Philharmonic: $215 per trimester
Concert Orchestra: $245 per trimester

Tuition assistance is available for families needing help to cover participation fees. 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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