The CCO Youth Orchestra (CCOYO)

Now in our 5th Season!

Established in September 2017, the CCO Youth Orchestra’s mission is to provide a high-quality symphony orchestra experience for youth in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Check out a past concert on YouTube

Where there’s a will (to make music), there’s a way!  We’ve adapted to the times through a number of measures to keep our musicians connected but safe.  We are grateful for our dedicated students (and their families) who are making continued rehearsals possible.

Next Concert: January 8, 2022 @ 4:00pm

Membership is open to all young orchestral musicians (all instruments) in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes Region, playing at an advanced level. Read through the audition requirements and general information before contacting us, to ensure you can meet the requirements for participation in the CCOYO. Our thanks to all musicians who participated in our recent auditions.

We look forward to the next time we can make music together in person, and until then, we’re finding alternative ways to keep the music alive virtually. Stay tuned for updates on when we’ll next take the stage, and catch us online in the meantime! Youtube/facebook/instagram


General Information

  • The CCO Youth Orchestra (CCOYO) rehearses on Sunday evenings from 7-9pm at Ithaca High School.
  • All CCOYO members will participate in their school music programs, unless none is available.
  • The cost for participation is $400 per year, payable in installments.  A limited number of scholarships will be available to students who demonstrate financial need.

Next Auditions:  May 2022
Current openings:
French horn, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet

Audition Guidelines can be downloaded by clicking here

Ready to apply?  Click here to apply online.
Please send any questions to

Application Fee
You are welcome to pay the $20 application fee by mailing a check, paying in person at the audition, or paying online.

Pay by mail:
Checks should be made payable to the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra.  In the memo field, be sure to write “Youth Orchestra audition” and the student’s name on your check before mailing it to:
Cayuga Chamber Orchestra
110 N. Tioga Street, Ste. 302
Ithaca, NY 14850

Pay online:
Click here to submit payment securely online.
Be sure to note the student’s name when paying online, to insure the funds are properly credited.

Already a member and need a copy of the handbook? Click here to download your own copy

Audition Requirements:

  • For the audition, each musician will prepare:
    •  Scales (see the guidelines for your instrument’s specific requirements)
    •  One or two short solo selections that contrast expressive, cantabile playing with fast, technical passagework. The piece must be equivalent to NYSSMA level 5/6.
    • Students will be presented an unfamiliar orchestral excerpt in the audition room to play at sight.
  • Each audition will take 5-10 minutes.
  • Solo works are to be performed without piano accompaniment.
  • The audition committee will listen for musicality and expressiveness, tone quality, pulse and rhythm, technical ease and intonation.

Questions?  Please email us at

Photo: Jari Poulin

Meet the CCO Youth Orchestra conductor

Known throughout the Americas for her dynamic energy and passionate work with young musicians, conductor and violinist Kirsten Marshall is the Director of the Orchestral Program and violin faculty member of Ithaca Talent Education, as well as a Lecturer in violin performance at Ithaca College.  Ms. Marshall received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) with majors in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy. Ms. Marshall also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Case Western Reserve University, with an emphasis in strings.  Her conducting studies were with David Einfeldt (Hartt School of Music), Carl Topilow and Louis Lane (CIM).  She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society.

Ms. Marshall has conducted the 2016, 2014, 2012 and 1998 Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas at the biennial Suzuki Association Conferences, as well as conducting the faculty orchestras for the youth piano soloist in both the 2008 and 2010 conferences.  She has also been a featured conductor at Suzuki institutes and All-State festivals across the United States and New Zealand, including most recently Alabama and California All-State.  An avid supporter of contemporary music, Ms. Marshall co-commissioned and premiered a new sonata for violin and piano by Robert Paterson. Her own work as a composer and arranger for string orchestras includes Capriccio dell’ombra and Osker’s Song.  She has conducted and produced two premiere string orchestra pieces on a CD released by Ithaca Talent Education (Bach to the Future).

Ms. Marshall is an active violinist in the Ithaca area and is a member (David and Leslie Sagan chair) of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. She is frequently sought after as a string clinician at Suzuki institutes and workshops across the United States.  Her high-energy style blends humor and passion, engaging players at the highest level for riveting performances.


Youth Orchestra Staff
     Kirsten Marshall, Conductor
     Amy Penick, Operations Manager

Youth Orchestra Advisory Committee
    Sarah Cummings, Chair and Treasurer
    Paul Acosta, CCO Board Representative
    David Kraskow, CCO Board Representative
    Ian Woods, Parent Representative
    Nicki Zawel, Parent Representative

    Sebastian Acosta and Maya Blanchard, Student Representatives


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