Winter 2021 Program

For BYSO’s Winter 2021 Online Program, Philharmonia musicians are placed into 2 small ensembles – Philharmonia Strings Blue and Philharmonia Strings Red. (For Philharmonia/Youth Wind Ensemble, visit this page.)

All rehearsals are held on Monday evenings via Zoom. Musicians are expected to be prepared and logged in to rehearsal 15 minutes prior to start time. Cameras must be kept ON for the entire duration of the rehearsal session.

BYSO Winter 2021 Small Ensemble Schedule
Ensemble Name Director Rehearsal Time
Philharmonia Strings Blue Joseph Kempisty 7:45 – 9:00 PM
Philharmonia Strings Red Joseph Kempisty 6:15 – 7:30 PM


Philharmonia is an advanced orchestra in the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra organization. The typical Philharmonia student has had several years of private instruction and substantial ensemble experience and is highly skilled on his or her instrument.

Philharmonia prepares high-level musicians for possible entry into Youth Symphony with challenging full orchestra pieces. Past works performed include Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March in Bb Minor, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 35.

Conductor: Joseph Kempisty

Joseph Kempisty holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University and a Master of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies degree from the University of Washington. He has taught elementary, middle, and high school orchestras in the Midwest as well as in the Bellevue School District, where he was also a school administrator for fourteen years. Learn more.

Contact Joseph Kempisty at

Messages from the Conductor

Welcome to Philharmonia Strings!

February 1st Rehearsal Info

Your task before our February 8th rehearsal:  By the end of the day on Sunday, February 7th, be sure to make your final recording of the Scherzo opening pizzicato section at the same 95% tempo as last week (quarter = 146).  Be sure to practice along with the ‘live’ recording of the San Francisco Symphony below (not just using a headset/earbuds, but turning up speaker sound from your stereo, sound device, or computer to play along with).
***Be sure to practice and subdivide at the same time as we did in rehearsal!***
Here is the same Upbeat Perform link for this recording project at quarter = 146 (95% of YouTube performance speed):
You can practice using either the MP3 file (check the 1/25 email) that is already at the 95% recording speed or you can use the same YouTube recording of the San Francisco Symphony (link below) – just be sure to use the settings icon and change the playback speed to 95%.  This recording ends at the same spot as our previous ones – at the Meno Mosso first note which is played by the 1st Violin part only.
Feedback from our first recording attempt:  
  • Be sure you don’t have your bow in your hand – put it aside so that you can do this fast section.
  • Be sure to practice along with the San Francisco Symphony recording so that you lock in your ‘metronome’ timing with them – especially in the offbeat sections.  
  • Exaggerate the dynamic changes with them, but be careful not to speed up as you get louder.  
  • It appeared that some people got behind the beat because their pizzicato finger was moving too far off the string – keep your pizzicato finger very close to the string so you can play at this faster tempo.

Winter Quarter 2021

Check out the San Francisco Symphony’s performance of this Scherzo movement with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (same video used at our first rehearsal).  This is the recording we will use as our performance guide.



At our February 1st rehearsal, we saw a video of Ayane Kozasa performing Niccolò Paganini’s Caprice No. 5 (arranged for viola meaning played down a fifth from the original violin version).  This recording is from the Semifinals for the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition, and she won in the Final.

Another video from February 1st was violist Ayane Kozasa’s performance with composer and cellist Paul Wianko of his piece American Haiku.  This is an excellent “Live from the Living Room” recording from May 2020 – great piece with exciting and interesting compositional elements as well.

At our January 11th rehearsal, we saw a video of Sheku Kanneh-Mason performing Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (England) conducted by Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla.

Another video we saw at our January 11th rehearsal was of the Croation cello duo called 2 Cellos (Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser) that performs standard classical repertoire as well as pieces from movie soundtracks, rock groups, etc. In this video, they are performing ‘Resistance‘ by the rock group Muse.

One video we saw at our January 4th rehearsal was a performance of Giovanni Bottesini’s Grad Duo Concertante for Violin and Double Bass with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Kamerorkest.  Soloists are Vesko Eschkenazy, violin and Dominic Seldis, double bass.

Details for both the Red and Blue Philharmonia Strings rehearsal groups:

  • Both the Red and the Blue groups will be working on the same repertoire, but at separate times.  We will be starting with Tchaikovsky, and you were emailed your parts on 1/3/21.  You will need to print out your part and the score (both in the email as attachments) prior to our rehearsal as we will be using both during our online rehearsal.
  • One or two members might switch to the other group after the first rehearsal to make sure that parts are covered in both groups.  I will make that determination after the first rehearsal and notify those involved.
  • Once Red and Blue group members are finalized, you will be expected to stay with your group’s rehearsal time for this first rehearsal cycle (8 rehearsals with our last rehearsal on March 8th.  No rehearsal on January 18th nor February 15th.).  If you miss your time, you will not be able to join the other group time as we want to keep the online session participants the same from week to week.

Online Zoom meeting details:

    • Join our Zoom meetings with Video On.  All BYSO rehearsals will have video on for all members for the duration of rehearsal.  Please make sure you are ok with the room you are using as we will see what is behind you.
      • If you have a younger sibling, you might want to find a space where they won’t become part of your video feed.  I know cats and dogs may find you wherever you go!
    • Make sure to update your Zoom profile name for our rehearsals to your first and last name.  If you have a a nickname for your first name, you can use that along with your last name.
    • When you first join, you will be in a ‘waiting room’ until I grant access.  Once access is granted, you will be muted when you enter, so it’s ok if you are tuning as no one will hear you until you enable your mic.

Details for Philharmonia Strings Red rehearsal group:

    • Rehearsal for the Red group is 6:15pm – 7:30pm.
    • Please be sure to login by 6:05 to tune your instrument and get your online connection working.
    • You will need the Meeting ID and Passcode to get access to the Zoom meeting.  Check your email.

Details for Philharmonia Strings Blue rehearsal group:

    • Rehearsal for the Blue group is 7:45pm – 9:00pm.
    • Please be sure to login by 7:35 to tune your instrument and get your online connection working.
    • You will need the Meeting ID and Passcode to get access to the Zoom meeting.  Check your email.


Fall 2020 Rehearsal Cycle

Our focus for the Fall rehearsal cycle will be on Mozart’s Divertimento in F Major, K. 138.

Below is the recording of this work by the New York Classical Players that we have been using at rehearsals. Please use their style and articulations (and bowings!) when you are practicing.

New York Classical Players

Mozart – Divertimento in F Major, K. 138

  1. Allegro
  2. Andante (5:59)
  3. Presto (12:42) – change to 90% video speed for our performance tempo

The other video we watched at our first rehearsal was NYCP performing Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136.

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