In-Person Rehearsals:
In-person rehearsals follow WA State DOH guidelines for schools. We are watching evolving School District and State COVID guidelines and will make changes accordingly. Click here for complete BYSO COVID Policy and Procedures.



Rehearsals Spring Quarter Dates
Mondays from 6:15 – 8:30 pm March 27 – May 22, 2023 (No rehearsal on 4/10)
Rehearsal Location Drop Off/ Pick Up
Lake Washington High School Parking lot and street parking are available. Plan
12033 NE 80th St on prompt drop off and pick up to avoid
Kirkland, WA 98033 congestion.
Retreat Fall & Winter Quarters Only
The next BYSO retreats will be
held in the 2023-24 Season.
Spring Concert | Showcase Sunday, May 21 at 4:30 pm
Meydenbauer Theatre Call times and more will be posted as we get
11100 NE 6th St closer to the concert.
Bellevue, WA 98004

Student Checklist

  • Bring a pencil
  • Do not bring a music stand
  • Print your sheet music prior to first rehearsal (using link at top of this page) and bring with you to rehearsal
  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of rehearsal to ensure you are in your chair and ready to play at the start of rehearsal
  • Have fun!

Volunteers will be a vital part of a successful Spring Quarter for all of our students. We need volunteers to help with attendance, setting up/tearing down, and supporting our students during their rehearsals. Click here to sign up now!


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

March 23rd

Philharmonia Spring Quarter Music now posted.  See link above.  Seating Auditions will be during our Monday night rehearsal on April 17th (our third rehearsal).  Spots will be shared at our first rehearsal.
For our Spring concert, we will be performing two pieces:
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s fourth movement (IV) from his suite ‘Four Characteristic Waltzes’ (Op. 22)
  • Gustav Holst’s ‘Jupiter’ movement from his suite ‘The Planets’ (Op. 32)
Details on printing and transposing parts:
  • Each instrument should print out all their parts (Example: If there are three parts, print out all three to bring to rehearsal).  This includes Violins – print out parts for both 1st and 2nd violin.
  • Clarinets and Trumpets:  The Coleridge-Taylor piece is in A for your instrument.  You do not need to get an ‘A’ instrument, but you will need to transpose it down a half step for your Bb instrument (add a flat to everything is one way to do it!).  Please take a look at your part before our first Spring rehearsal so that you can figure out what you need to do.  Fortunately, there were Bb parts available for the Holst, so those are the ones included for printing.  If you want to see the original versions of those, you can find it on (Clarinet in A, Trumpet in C).
  • Trombone:  The Coleridge-Taylor is only in Tenor Clef.  However, the Holst has the part in both Tenor Clef and Bass Clef – your choice for that one.

March 20th

Congratulations on a great concert this past weekend!!!  Monday, March 27th is the first rehearsal for our Spring Quarter.  Links to the music will be posted at the top of this page later this week.  Below are example recordings of our two pieces.  See you next week!

This is a great, quality recording from 1935 of the fourth movement from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s “Four Characteristic Waltzes, Op. 22.”

This recording is of Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity” movement from his suite “The Planets, Op. 32” performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Retreat Location Update!!!

Our retreat location has changed to Overlake Christian Church in Redmond (NOT Odle Middle School).  Check above for the address or check your email for details.   See you on Saturday!

January 11th – Seating Audition spots

Thank you for a good first rehearsal including those very challenging rhythms in the Harbach!  Seating Auditions will occur at our Saturday, January 21st Retreat (9am to 2pm at Overlake Christian Church – details at the top of this webpage).

Below are the Seating Auditions spots by instrument.  Everyone has the same section in the Beethoven.  For the Harbach, aim for no slower than eighth note = 100 (sixteenth = 200) for both the Adagio and the Rhythmic section at measure 16.  Faster is fine, but accuracy is more important (subdivide!).

  • All Instruments:  Beethoven m. 580 to m. 645
  • Flute addition:  Harbach m. 26 to 36
  • Oboe addition:  Harbach m. 25 to 36
  • Clarinet addition:  Harbach Beginning to m. 16
  • Horn additions:  Beethoven m. 692 to m. 726  and  Harbach m. 38 to 52 (the add part)
  • Trumpet addition:  Harbach m. 138 to End (down an octave as needed)
  • Trombone additions:  Beethoven m. 645 to m. 668  and  Harbach m. 138 to End
  • Violin 1 additions:  Beethoven  m. 431 to 446  and  Harbach m. 26 to 36
    • Remember that both Violin sections are re-auditioned for each concert.  If you want the chance to play Violin 1 for this concert, you need to audition on the Violin 1 part.
  • Violin 2 additions:  Harbach m. 28 to 36
  • Viola additions:  Harbach m. 28 to 36  &  m. 42 to 48
  • Cello additions:  Harbach m. 36 to 49
  • Bass additions:  Harbach Beginning to m. 15

December 30th

Happy New Year!  Links to all instrument parts will be added to this page and also emailed out by the BYSO office the week before our January 9th rehearsal.  Be sure to print your parts so you have them for that rehearsal.  There is no expectation to practice the pieces before that first rehearsal.  However, I do recommend listening to a recording of both of our pieces in advance.

The pieces we will be performing are:

  • Symphony No. 5 (mvmt 4) by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky (mvmt 2) by Barbara Harbach

The Harbach piece was composed in 2017.  Here is a recording of the second movement by the London Philharmonic Orchestra:

November 21st

Congratulations on our first concert of the season this past weekend!!!  Rehearsals begin again on Monday, January 9th with new repertoire.  See you in January!

November 14th

Please see details and location at the top of this webpage for our Sunday, November 20th concert. Remember that our call time is 3pm, so please be onstage and ready to go. Plan ahead so you have time to find parking and find our room to unpack.

Focus on any final details you need to master especially regarding articulation changes throughout all our music as well as dynamic changes – sudden and gradual. Increased attention to these details will make our performance even more exciting on Sunday!

September 26th

Thank you for a great first rehearsal!  Remember to find a tuner app and a metronome app if you don’t already have one – and use them both!  For your metronome practice, be sure to start at a slower, accurate tempo (for you) with the goal of gradually increasing your tempo mark over the weeks ahead.  

Listen to a recording to help your practice, and be sure to listen for the musical components in each section and phrase – not just the technical components. 

Seating auditions will happen at our Fall Retreat on Saturday, October 8th at Odle Middle School (starting at 9:00am).  Below are the specific sections to focus on for your audition.  

John Williams’ “The Jedi Steps and Finale”

  • Everyone:  73 to 90
  • Everyone:  168 to 237
  • Cello addition:  98 to Broadly

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “English Folk Songs Suite”

  • Oboe addition (from Oboe 1 part):  Mvmt 2 – Beginning solo to the note at A1
  • First Violin addition:  Mvmt 2 – A1 to Allegretto Scherzando

September 22nd

I am excited to see you all at our upcoming first rehearsal on Monday, September 26th at the Lake Washington HS in the band room!  In preparation for that rehearsal, please print out all the parts for your instrument.  For example, Violins should print both the Violin 1 and Violin 2 parts for all pieces.  Woodwinds and Brass should print out the full set of parts that are included in their PDF.

We will begin this quarter with John William’s “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”  Your PDF may also include movement IV “The Jedi Steps” which you do not need to print out.  Be sure to print out movement V “The Jedi Steps and Finale.”  The parts we are using are the original, professional level parts from the movie.  Specifically, this is Rey’s climbing of the Jedi steps which then moves into the end credit music from the movie (some measures were cut out in the movie to fit within the end credit time, so you will see a few two to four measure chunks that are in your parts that are not in the end credit music).  All instruments have a lot to do in this piece, and there is zero expectation that you have it learned for our first rehearsal!  If you are able to listen to a recording and follow along with your part before our first rehearsal, that would be very helpful.  You can either put the movie on at the end credits or purchase that specific movement from the album (but only purchase the full “The Jedi Steps and Finale” one, not the shorter “The Jedi Steps” that is available on the album as well).

The other piece we are starting with is Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “English Folk Songs Suite” which some of you may have played the wind ensemble version before.  If you are able to find a recording to listen to before our first rehearsal, look for a professional symphony playing the piece and not a professional wind ensemble.  The music is the same in both, but who plays what is different.

See you on Monday, September 26!

Joseph Kempisty
BYSO Philharmonia Conductor

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