The CCO Youth Orchestra

Congratulations to everyone involved in the tremendous concert on January 12th! 

CCOYO Jan 2019 concertWatch the concert by clicking on the photo!

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.

The Spring Concert is on Saturday June 8, 2019 at 4pm, Ford Hall (Ithaca College).  CLICK HERE for full details.

Membership is open to all young orchestral musicians (all instruments) in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes Region, playing at an advanced level.  Be sure to read through the audition requirements and general information before contacting us, to insure you are able to meet the requirements.  The next audition date will be May 17, 2019.

This season the orchestra will perform two full-length concerts in Ford Hall, two outreach concerts in neighboring communities, and a sidebyside concert with the CCO. Repertoire highlights include Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and Danzon No. 2 by Marquez all conducted under the baton of Kirsten Marshall.


General Information

  • The CCO Youth Orchestra rehearses on Sunday evenings from 7-9pm at Ithaca High School.
  • All CCO Youth Orchestra 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.

Current openings include: flute, clarinet, horn, trombone, tuba, percussion, all strings

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.  Be sure to write “Youth Orchestra” and the student’s name on your check before mailing it to:
Cayuga Chamber Orchestra
171 East State St. #112
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
     Kathryn Drake, Operations Manager

Youth Orchestra Advisory Committee
    Sarah Cummings, Chair
    Marty Bryant, CCO Board Representative
David Kraskow, CCO Board Representative
    Paul Acosta, CCO Board Representative
    Dylan Race, Parent Representative
    Christina Mead, Parent Representative
    Max Stephenson, Student Representative
    Madeleine Wang, Student Representative
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Tickets available at

Call: 800 838 3006


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