Hisham Bravo Groover conducts Philharmonic students on the Orchestra Hall stage

The area’s leading high school musicians achieve an outstanding level of artistry, performing professional repertoire and collaborating with guest artists in premier performance opportunities.


Conductor Hisham Bravo Groover leads Philharmonic through a deep exploration of major symphonic repertoire and the music’s historical context. With a focus on developing individual musicianship that drives the orchestra’s collective success, Philharmonic builds students’ lifelong appreciation of music and desire to strive for excellence. With five annual concerts, including two at Orchestra Hall, Philharmonic attracts the area’s leading high school musicians. String players in Philharmonic have an average of 7 to 10 years of experience and winds/brass/percussion students have typically been playing their instruments for 5 to 8 years. Special artistic projects, sectionals, retreats, social activities, and extra opportunities provide a well-rounded and transformative experience which develops students’ musical, leadership, and lifelong skills.

2023-24 Highlights

  • Learn from Hisham Bravo Groover, artistic director and principal conductor of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and music director and conductor of the Buffalo Community Orchestra
  • Perform 2 concerts at Orchestra Hall in November and May, livestreamed for free
  • Share 2 free community concerts and perform on tour at local schools
  • Explore the musical traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean through an exciting multicultural collaboration
  • Enjoy 2 half-day retreats at University of MN and Hopkins High School (October & January)
  • Work with professional musicians during sectionals throughout the year (percussionists enjoy a monthly seminar; woodwinds and brass will also learn from an annual masterclass)
  • Make friends with youth from across the region through social activities like treat nights, year-end parties, and optional pre-rehearsal dinners each semester

Rehearsals: September – May

Tuesdays, 6:45-9:15pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church: 1200 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Free parking is available in Westminster’s underground garage.
Carpool lists are provided so interested families can coordinate ridesharing.

Online Calendar

Watch a Philharmonic Performance

Enjoy their live performance of Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia Op. 26 at Orchestra Hall.

Tuition, Fees & Tuition Assistance

Philharmonic Tuition: $1,165 for the full season. Students joining 2nd semester pay 60%.

We offer a sibling discount of $95 per additional child. See below to learn about our generous tuition assistance. While the actual cost to participate is nearly $2,300, charitable contributions subsidize every student’s participation so we can keep tuition as affordable as possible.

Retreat Fee: $100 total for the fall and winter retreats. Reduced fees are available for tuition assistance recipients.

Payment options: Families can pay in full, or in 8 monthly installments, or set up a special plan to meet your family’s needs. 

Tuition Assistance: Generous need-based assistance is offered for all of GTCYS’ programs including school-year orchestras, summer programs, tours, and special activities. No work study or volunteering is required for scholarship recipients. Support for private lessons is also provided. We encourage all families experiencing financial hardship to apply, especially if cost is a determining factor for participation. Learn more about tuition assistance and click here to apply.


Each GTCYS orchestra is a community of musicians, each of whom is equally important to the group’s progress and success. Students are accountable to their orchestra peers and should honor their commitment by consistently attending GTCYS activities, practicing GTCYS music 10 minutes a day, follow all policies outlined in the Musician’s Handbook.

Important Links

  • Musician’s Handbook: includes info like participation policies, concert attire, and what to bring to rehearsals
  • Attendance Policy: GTCYS’ policy balances flexibility with rigor; be sure to review it!
  • Absence Form: Complete online in advance if a student will miss a GTCYS activity
  • News Notes: Our monthly e-newsletter sent to participating families


In order to determine which GTCYS orchestra students are best suited for, every student must audition each year to participate. Auditions are conducted by a recorded video, and include scales, a short solo, and prepared excerpts. Previous participation in GTCYS does not guarantee placement. Learn more about auditions.

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Supported by Community.

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