Competitions & Scholarships

Concerto Competitions

WYSO Concerto Competitions were established to feature the talents of Youth Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra members. Competition winners perform their concerti with the Philharmonia or Youth Orchestras at the Bolz Family Spring Concerts, or even the Side by Side concert with Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Honorable mention recipients will be invited to perform at either the Youth Honors or Philharmonia Honors Recitals.

Youth Orchestra

2019-20 Winners: Meera Bradley, violin; Antonio Wu, piano

2019-20 Honorable Mentions: Suraya Gade, harp; Sophie Griffith-Oh, horn; Ava Kenney, violin; Andrew Siehr, cello; Emma Song, violin; Heather Swartz, flute; Luke Whittingham, percussion; Steven Wilke, violin

Philharmonia Orchestra

2019-20 Winners: Vincent Chou, violin and Sophia Jiang, violin

2019-20 Honorable Mentions: Reid DeThorne, violin; Olivia Gardill, bassoon; Danny Itani, cello; Reem Itani, violin; Gracie Kremer, viola; Daria Rudykh, clarinet; Addie Swam, cello


2018-19: Ellen Zhou, violin; Brian Liebau, flute; Grace Kim, cello; Benjamin Davies Hudson, violin; Anaïs Griffith-Oh, marimba

2017-18: Dexter Mott, violin; Maureen Sheehan, viola; Morty Lee, cello; Isabelle Krier, violin; Ava Kenney, violin; Ellen Zhou, violin

2016-17: Mary Deck, violin; Adam Goren, marimba; Noah Laabs, tuba; Monona Suzuki, violin; Meera Bradley, violin


In response to the economic challenges facing the families of WYSO student musicians due to COVID-19, WYSO is pleased to announce the launch of The WYSO Families First Fund and Campaign.

The goal is to support families facing economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, providing peace of mind that their student musicians will be able to continue studying music in a world that has become increasingly uncertain.

We are asking all families that are facing economic challenges due to COVID-19 to submit a 2020-21 Scholarship Application by May 31, 2020. For this application, it does not matter if you are Reserving a Seat or Applying to Audition, if your plans include being a part of WYSO in Fall of 2020, please submit your Scholarship Application by May 31.

This application will require  a brief explanation of how COVID-19 has changed your family financial situation.

Apply Now for The WYSO Families First Fund Scholarship


The Murphy Family Interlochen Scholarship Auditions are open to Youth Orchestra members wishing to attend the Interlochen Music Camp. The family of Stephen Murphy has endowed this scholarship for over ten years providing an opportunity for many Youth Orchestra members to attend the camp on reduced tuition. Upon acceptance to the camp, the winner will receive a $1000 scholarship and a WYSO letter of recommendation to be used in the application for further scholarship support from Interlochen. Previous winners and graduating seniors are ineligible for the competition.

The Murphy Family Interlochen Scholarship audition is held in conjunction with the Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition.

Congratulations to Andrew Siehr, winner of the 2019-20 Murphy Family Interlochen Scholarship!

Previous Winners:

2018-19: Ava Kenney

2017-18: Dexter Mott

2016-17: Anne Sophie Brilla



The Thomas Buchhauser Honors Orchestra Scholarship Competition is open to WYSO members who successfully audition into the WSMA State Honors Orchestra and are committed to playing in WYSO during the following season. The winner will receive a $250 scholarship to attend the Honors Orchestra summer camp.

A judge will choose the scholarship recipient based on merit demonstrated during the audition. Auditionees should prepare a solo not longer than ten minutes.  Accompaniment is not required but is recommended.

Due to COVID-19, the Buchhauser Honors Orchestra Scholarship was not awarded for the 2019-2020 season.

Previous Winners:

2018-19: Heather Swartz

2017-18: Mary Hsu

Thomas Buchhauser WYSO Tuition Scholarship

The Thomas Buchhauser WYSO Tuition Scholarship is open to Philharmonia Orchestra members who successfully audition into WYSO the subsequent year. The member who is awarded this scholarship must demonstrate the qualities of a WYSO member which are important to Mr. Buchhauser: excellent musicianship, superb attendance, participate in their school music program and be a consistent participant in the Musical Notes fundraising campaign.

Thomas Buchhauser was a conductor for WYSO for 30 years and he remains a fierce force for music education in Wisconsin. In addition to his 30 seasons conducting for WYSO, Mr. Buchhauser taught at Madison Memorial High School and Jefferson Middle School from 1966-1999, played cello for Madison Symphony Orchestra for nearly 20 years, and served on the faculty of the National String Workshop for ten years.

If you'd like to contribute to this award please click here.

Congratulations to Sydney Kostelac, winner of the 2019-20 Thomas Buchhauser WYSO Tuition Scholarship Award!

Previous Winners:

2018-19: Katie Barden

2017-18: Joseph Batterman

2016-17: Talon Edseth-Griffin


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