Open Auditions for the 2018-2019 Season

GWYOA is pleased to announce Open Auditions for our 2018-2019 season!

We welcome NEW musicians and current members MOVING UP to audition to participate in another exciting season of inspiring music!

Click here for for audition sign-up links


GWYOA Spring Gala Concert

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 1:30 pm

David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center

70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

Click here for INFORMATION PACKET, including: Ticket Info, Concert Attire, Transportation, etc.

2018 Monday night rehearsals

January 8, (Note: No practice on 15 due to MLK), 22 (Lewis-Lionti Concert), 29

February 5, 12, (Note: No practice on 19 due to President’s Day), 26

March 5, 12, 19, (Note: No practice on 26 due to Spring Break)

April 2, 9, 16, 23 (recordings)

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

Spring Gala Concert:

Saturday, April 28, 2018, at 1:30 pm, 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 is provided - and is REQUIRED. Buses depart WCC at approximately 10:00 am. Transportation home from Lincoln Center is NOT provided.

Orchestra-Specific Events

Westchester Elementary Strings Tours:

The multiple venues, daylong tours offer students the opportunity to polish their performances for upcoming concerts.

  • Spring Tour: Thursday, April 26, 2018. Approximate times: 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Bus to and from WCC is provided.
  • Elementary Strings Sectional Rehearsals: 2 Sunday Sectional Rehearsals—1 in Fall; 1 in Spring—date to be determined

Westchester Junior Strings Spring Concert:

  • TBA

Youth Symphony Concert & Lewis-Lionti Concerto Competition:

  • January 22, 2018, WCC Academic Arts Building Stage during regular rehearsal time, no charge.

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 Youth Symphony, 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 Junior String Orchestra from 1990 until 1996 when he followed in his fathers footsteps and moved onto leading the Youth Symphony.

Maestro Alshin, the founder of the Junior String 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 Elementary String Orchestra was organized in 1983 and was first conducted by Jacqueline Stern. She moved onto the Junior String Orchestra in 1996. It was at that time that Bernard Klinger joined the GWYOA as the conductor of the Elementary Strings.

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.