HISTORY OF THE CYSO
The CYSO was founded in 1984 to provide orchestral experience for school-age musicians. The University of Denver contributed rehearsal and performance space and gave the new organization a $10,000 startup grant. Two CYSO orchestras began rehearsing in September 1984.
CYSO's concerts were held at the university's Lamont School of Music. Concerts are now presented at numerous sites around the city of Denver. The CYSO rehearses at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice.
Michelle Orman is in her fourteenth full season with CYSO. Her primary responsibilities are fundraising, managing the budget and finances, managing staff, and overseeing administrative and orchestra operations.
In addition to managing the CYSO, Michelle is Principal Clarinet with Opera Colorado, the Colorado Ballet Orchestra, 2nd Clarinet with the Central City Opera, and the Boulder Philharmonic. She frequently performs with the Colorado Symphony. She is Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at the University of Northern Colorado, and has been working with youth orchestras since 1980. Michelle is also a D'Addario woodwind artist.
Symphony conductor Angie Dombrowski is an avid performer and educator in the Denver area. She performs regularly with the Central City Opera, Colorado Ballet, and Opera Colorado, and as a frequent substitute with the Colorado Symphony. She maintains a large private violin studio and enjoys working as a string specialist at schools in Jefferson County.
Angie earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University, where she studied with Bayla Keyes, and her Master of Music degree from Rice University, where she studied with Kathleen Winkler. While at Rice, she took additional weekly private lessons with former Houston Symphony concertmaster Raphael Fliegel for the study of the orchestral repertoire.
Phoenix, AZ native Alex Vittal earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from Arizona State University (2008) and Master of Music degree in Viola Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado–Boulder (2010). As a violist, Mr. Vittal satisfies his varied musical tastes by performing orchestral music as a member of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, opera with Opera Steamboat, traditional Argentine tango music with Zero Hour, string quartets with the Highland Square Ensemble, and Baroque music on period instruments with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. He is also the executive director and a violist with Sphere Ensemble, a 14 member string ensemble that performs great music from every genre. He has written over 50 arrangements for Sphere of music from Bach to Prince.
Mr. Vittal is also a dedicated teacher, active both as a private viola and violin teacher, a chamber music coach, and a teacher/conductor of group classes for beginner and intermediate string players. Dedicated to social justice through music education, Mr. Vittal has spent 10 years working with underserved elementary and middle school students as a Teaching Artist with El Sistema Colorado. In August 2018, he had the distinct honor of conducting Yo-Yo Ma, performing Bach’s Airalongside students from El Sistema, in the This Is Home community block party, as part of Ma’s 36-city Bach Cello Suites tour.
DR. GRANT LARSON
Wind Ensemble Conductor
Dr. Grant Larson is the soprano saxophonist with the Colorado-based Chautauqua Saxophone Quartet and has performed with the Colorado Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival, and the Fargo/Moorhead Symphony. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder. An active recitalist and proponent of new music, he has premiered works for saxophone by Philip Wharton, Chiayu Hsu, Steven Makala, and John Drumheller at regional and national conventions. His album Terrane features nine of his original jazz compositions.
Grant served on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Concordia College, and the Boulder Arts Academy. He studied saxophone with Tom Myer, Peter Sommer, Russell Peterson, and Ron Wray and oboe with Jennifer Peterson. He has performed onstage with Maria Schneider, Kurt Elling, Mulgrew Miller, Art Lande, Peter Erskin, Ray Charles, Ignacio Berroa, and “Slammin” Sammy K.
Debut String Orchestra Conductor
Debut conductor Holli Young is currently in her second year as director of orchestras at Mead High School in Mead, Colorado. She conducts the school’s Symphonic Orchestra, String Orchestra, and Concert Orchestra, as well as a new chamber music class. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in K-12 instrumental music from the University of Northern Colorado.
Holli is a Colorado native and has been working with the Colorado Youth Symphony since 2019, this will be her first year as conductor of the Debut String ensemble. She is excited to work with this developing string ensemble and is looking forward to this upcoming concert season!
PhD Student, Historical Musicology
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Participating in CYSO was both a formative and transformative experience for me. It served not only as my introduction to orchestral and chamber music, but also enabled and encouraged me to hone the skills necessary to succeed in both. Through CYSO, I first developed abilities that I continued to utilize in my orchestral career at institutions like the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and a variety of others. CYSO nurtured my love of chamber music, introducing me to a repertoire that has proved continuously and endlessly fascinating; as a consequence, I attended the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, received a fellowship from Aspen’s Center for Advanced String Quartet Studies, and served as a young artist for both Da Camera and Strings Music Festival. For me, CYSO was the beginning of a long and fulfilling musical journey, one that continues to this day as I pursue my doctorate in Historical Musicology at Columbia University. I look forward to teaching others, hopefully at the collegiate level, inspiring them in the same way that CYSO did for me.
"My years in CYSO as a young student were vital to the person and musician I am today. In addition to developing ensemble skills, social skills, and responsibility, I experienced the true joy that is music-making onstage surrounded by my peers. I can't recommend the Colorado Youth Symphony highly enough!"
English Language Instructor
My time with the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra was an important part of my path in becoming the musician I am today. I learned important ensemble skills, auditioning skills, and technical skills very early on since joining the CYSO. I enjoyed various opportunities including coaching from and playing with members from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, lifelong connections and friendships, and even chances to play with quartets at parties and social events. I treasure the memories of having the chance to play orchestra and quartet music with professional musicians and making friends with the other students. Without my experience in the CYSO, I doubt I would have made it so far as a musician or been able to enjoy performing around the world.