Masterclasses & Competitions


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.


Saturday, February 25th at 4:15pm
Madison Country Day School

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is hosting a masterclass with renowned trumpet player and WYSO alumnus, Andrew Balio, for current WYSO brass students in Youth and Philharmonia orchestras. Please fill out the application form below if you are interested in performing for Mr. Balio.

Wisconsin native Andrew Balio was appointed as Principal Trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2001 by Yuri Temirkanov. Prior to his arrival in Baltimore, he had been principal trumpet of the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta (since 1994) and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, as well as the Boston Philharmonic.

His solo debut was at age 15 with the Milwaukee Symphony playing the Haydn Concerto. His teachers included Charles Schlueter, Adolph Herseth, Roger Voisin and Gene Young.

Read more about the event
Andrew Balio Masterclass Application Form



Stay tuned for the date, time, and location!
The masterclass will be free and open to the public.

Sonora Slocum was appointed principal flute of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2012 at the age of 22.

Slocum has performed with orchestras around the country including guest principal flute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and has also appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra on flute and piccolo.

Her collaborations as guest principal include touring and audio recordings with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as well as visual recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York at Lincoln Center. In addition to her debut album Return with Affetto Records, featuring John Wilson on piano, Slocum has released a new album, Mozart Flute Quartets, recorded with members of the Dover and Escher Quartets with record label Acis Productions.

With music publisher Hal Leonard, Slocum compiled a collection featuring some of the most popular flute repertoire by French composers, as well as a collection of Moyse Exercises for Flute.

Sonora Slocum


International cellist and University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor, Uri Vardi, hosted two masterclasses for WYSO students in October 2022.

The cellist has performed as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber player across the United States, Europe, Far East, South America, and his native Israel. Born in Szeged, Hungary, Vardi grew up on kibbutz Kfar Hahoresh, Israel. He studied at the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv, was an Artist Diploma student at Indiana University, and earned his master’s degree from Yale University.

Vardi served as Assistant Principal cellist of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Principal cellist of the Israel Sinfonietta, and was a founding member of the Sol-La-Re String Quartet. In 1990, following an extensive teaching and performing career, Vardi was appointed cello professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.



The Madison Symphony Orchestra hosted a masterclass with guest artist James Ehnes for WYSO musicians in October 2022.

Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage and his long list of orchestras includes Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras; Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras; and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, 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.

Masterclass Series

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.

Master classes are funded by the James R. Smith Guest Artist Fund. *Denotes WYSO Alumni.


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.


 2022 – 2023 Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition:

December 1, 2022: Applications open.

2022 – 2023 Philharmonia Orchestra Concerto Competition:

      Click here for Philharmonia Orchestra Submission Form


    • Your choice of repertoire must be approved before your application will be accepted. Refer to the list of pre-approved repertoire for your orchestra and contact Yanzel Rivera at ASAP if your choice is not on the list.
    • Members who have previously won the competition with a specific WYSO orchestra may not compete with the same orchestra again.
    • Auditions are limited to 9 minutes of an approved concerto. Competitors should prepare a section or movement of their concerto that fits within this time frame and best represents their ability. The time-keeper will indicate when time is up. (Winners will perform their concert/movement without cuts, although pieces should be limited to 12 minutes for Philharmonia and 18 minutes for Youth.)
    • Competitors must secure an accompanist for the audition. Please inform the accompanist in advance that the auditions will be recorded for study purposes.
    • Memorization is encouraged but is not required.