GWYOA Auditions


for the 2019-2020 Season have concluded, Thank You!

GWYOA is still accepting auditions for the WESTCHESTER YOUTH SYMPHONY

For string players entering grades 10-12 in September 2019

For brass, wind and percussion musicians entering grades 9-12 in September 2019


2018-2019 GWYOA Rehearsal and Concert Schedule

(see Member Info or Calendar for event details)

September (10 - no rehearsal: Rosh Hashanah), 17, 24

October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Sunday, October 21 - Elementary Strings Sectional Rehearsal

November 5, 12, 19, 26

Sunday, November 18 - Junior Strings Sectional Rehearsal

December 3

Thursday, December 6 - Elementary Strings Fall Concert Tour (snow date Dec. 7)

Thursday, December 6, 6:30 PM - Junior Strings Fall Concert @ The Westchester Mall

Sunday, December 9, 1:00 PM - GWYOA Winter Concert at WCC (recorded).


January 7

January 14 - Lewis-Lionti Concert, 6:45 PM (Youth Symphony performing, all welcome to attend)

January 21 - no rehearsal: Martin Luther King day

January 28

February 4

February 11

February 18 - no rehearsal: President’s Day

February 25

March 4

Sunday, March 10 - Elementary Strings Sectional Rehearsal

March 11

March 18

March 25 - Junior Strings Cassatt Quartet, concert and sectional rehearsals

Monday, March 25 - Cassatt Quartet, concert and sectional rehearsals for Junior Strings members

April 1

April 8

April 15 - no rehearsal: Spring Break

April 22 - Recordings:

ES report at 6:15, record 6:30 -7:15

JS report at 6:20, record 7:15 - 8:15

YS report to top floor at 7:45, record 8:15 - 9:15

Thursday, April 25 - Junior Strings Spring Concert, Andrus on Hudson, 6:00 to 6:45 pm. (Details)

Friday, April 26 - Elementary Strings Spring Concert Tour (Details)

Sunday, April 28 - Spring Gala Concert at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC

Inclement Weather Policy

GWYOA follows the Westchester Community College decisions for bad weather closures. Please check the WCC website (, call the WCC Information number at 914-606-6900, or contact your conductor/parent liaisons when in doubt. Should a rehearsal be cancelled for weather, we will notify you by email. Please make sure we always have your current email address.

All-GWYOA Concerts

Winter Concert at WCC:

Sunday, December 9, 2018, 1:00 PM - WCC Academic Arts Building. Tickets: $15 suggested donation at the door. Seating is general admission.

Spring Gala Concert:

Sunday, April 28, 2019, at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC. Tickets are available for purchase through Lincoln Center’s box office a few weeks before the concert. Seating is general admission, although you will be asked to choose seats when purchasing tickets. Student BUS transportation from WCC to Lincoln Center is provided - and is REQUIRED. Transportation home from Lincoln Center is NOT provided.

Orchestra-Specific Events

About the GWYOA

The Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras Association is dedicated to the development of young people’s musicianship through rehearsing and performing together.

The GWYOA is a not-for-profit organization providing excellent grounding in cooperation, helping young people to develop self- esteem, and promoting harmony in our ethnically diverse community through classical music training. Founded in 1953, the GWYOA consists of three orchestras made up of students in grades four through twelve from Westchester County, NY, and from the surrounding counties in the Tri-State area, working in cooperation with the Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY. All three of the orchestras perform Winter and Spring Concerts each year.

History of the GWYOA

Mr. Harry Alshin, a string teacher in the Scarsdale school system, sowed the seeds for the GWYOA in 1955. Mr. Alshin first organized and conducted a countywide orchestra for junior high school students, preparing the young participants for the first youth orchestra which was established 2 years later.

The Westchester Youth Symphony Orchestra, a high school age group, has had only 5 conductors since its inception. The longest tenure is held to date by Victor Lionti who took over the baton in 1970 and maintained it for 25 years. The current conductor, his son, Vincent Lionti, played viola with the GWYOA from the age of 12 through high school. He conducted the Westchester Junior Strings Orchestra from 1990 until 1996 when he followed in his fathers footsteps and moved onto leading the Westchester Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Maestro Alshin, the founder of the Westchester Junior Strings Orchestra remained with that group until he retired in the 1980’s. Dale Lewis was the next conductor until Vincent Lionti came on board in 1990. The Westchester Elementary Strings Orchestra was organized in 1983 and was first conducted by Jacqueline Stern. She moved onto the Westchester Junior Strings Orchestra in 1996. It was at that time that Bernard Klinger joined the GWYOA as the conductor of the Westchester Elementary Strings Orchestra.

During the early years, GWYOA was sponsored by Westchester County and rehearsals were held in the basement of the County Center. There was also a 6 week sleep away summer camp co-sponsored by the GWYOA and the county at Croton Point. Now, GWYOA works in cooperation with the Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY, where weekly rehearsals are held.

Performance Venues

The GWYOA orchestras perform in a wide range of venues. In the past they have been honored to perform at:

  • Carnegie Hall
  • David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center
  • Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center
  • Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center
  • Ellis Island
  • Kennedy Center
  • SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center
  • Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital
  • MENC Eastern Division Conference
  • NYSSMA State Conferences
  • White Plains Performing Arts Center
  • 1976 Bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia

Various local nursing homes, elementary and middle schools.


Lewis-Lionti Sonata Concert

Monday, January 14, 2019, 6:45 PM

VENUE: Westchester Community College's, Hankin Academic Arts Building Auditorium (map).

PARKING: The nearest parking lot to the venue is Lot #4 (same as rehearsals), but you must climb a hill to get to the Auditorium entrance, which may be difficult for some of our grandparents. Please see the overhead map and instructions for Handicap drop off route. Musicians and Guests proceed up the hill towards the regular rehearsal room, Musicians (and Guests that need to use the elevator) head left towards building side entrance, Guests continue up the hill to Auditorium entrance.

TICKETS: No admission charge. Seating is general admission.

April 22 - Recordings

ES report at 6:15 pm to regular rehearsal room, record 6:30 -7:15, return to rehearsal room and rehearse until 8:15 pm

JS report at 6:20 pm to regular rehearsal room, record 7:15 - 8:15

YS report to 3rd floor at 7:45 pm, record 8:15 - 9:15