Masterclasses & Competitions

22-23 Masterclass Series

Each year WYSO hosts a series of amazing musicians who conduct masterclasses both virtually and in-person. Many times the series features WYSO alumni who are now working as musicians nationally and internationally.

Masterclass Artist Collage

James Ehnes Masterclass

Saturday, October 15th from 1:00- 3:00pm

Location: MYArts, Studio 4D

The Madison Symphony Orchestra hosts a masterclass with guest artist James Ehnes. WYSO students will have the pleasure of participating in this masterclass and learning from this master musician.

James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras.

Recent orchestral highlights include the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with Noseda, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Shelley, San Francisco Symphony with Janowski, Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Orozco-Estrada, London Symphony with Harding, and Munich Philharmonic with van Zweden, as well as his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center in spring 2019. In 2019/20, Ehnes was Artist in Residence with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which included performances of the Elgar Concerto with Luisi, a play/direct programme leg by Ehnes, and a chamber music programme. In 2017, Ehnes premiered the Aaron-Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and gave further performances of the piece with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Ehnes began violin studies at the age of five, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, and made his orchestra debut with L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal aged 13. He continued his studies with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation in 1997. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.

Masterclass Artist Collage

2021-22 Guest masterclass artists are pictured above (from left to right):  Derek Powell, Alicia Lee, Naha Greenholtz, Samantha Rodriguez, Susan Babini, Sonora Slocum and Megumi Kanda.


Each spring, WYSO holds the Concerto Competition for Youth and Philharmonia Orchestra members. Students will compete for the prizes of soloing with the Youth and Philharmonia Orchestras in the Spring Concerts.