Competitions & Scholarships

Concerto Competitions

WYSO Concerto Competitions were established to feature the talents of Youth Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra members. 20-21 Competition winners will perform their concerti at a Virtual Watch Party. 

Click here to read more about the 2020-21 WYSO VIRTUAL CONCERTO COMPETITION!

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 Swan, 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.

Previous Winners:

  • 2019-20: Andrew Siehr
  • 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.

Previous Winners:

  • 2019-20: No award due to COVID-19
  • 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.

Previous Winners:

  • 2019-20: Sydney Kostelac
  • 2018-19: Katie Barden
  • 2017-18: Joseph Batterman
  • 2016-17: Talon Edseth-Griffin


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