The most talented woodwind, brass and percussion students in Northeast Ohio perform as members of the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphonies (CYWS) each year. The three ensembles rehearse weekly at CIM’s main campus and Case Western Reserve University’s Denison Hall, both conveniently located in Cleveland’s beautiful University Circle neighborhood.

Students will perform regular concerts at Severance Hall, home of The Cleveland Orchestra. CYWS gives many concerts throughout the school year, including showcase performances with other elite wind ensembles and collaborations with CWRU’s bands, and tours regularly to international locations, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Australia, Spain, France and England.

Program Overview

  • Students entering grades 8-12 are eligible to audition.
  • Approximately 300 students perform in one of the three ensembles.
  • Rehearsals are held on Saturdays from late August through early May.
  • All CYWS members must take private lessons on their instrument and participate in their school music programs.

General inquires about the program can be sent to

Application & Auditions


How to Apply or Re-enroll

New Applicants:

All new students applying to CYWS will complete the online application and submit video recordings of the required audition pieces for their instrument. Applications will be accepted after July 1 on a case by case basis, as space allows.

Current CYWS Members:

Current CYWS members who are re-enrolling for the 2020-21 academic year and wish to remain in the same group placement must complete our re-enrollment form

Current Group II members who would like to audition for Group I are required to complete the online application and submit the required audition videos.

How to Submit a Recorded Audition

To ensure the health and safety of our community, auditions will not be held in person. Rather, 2020 CYWS applicants should submit a recorded audition through our online application. Videos taken using a smartphone or other mobile device will be sufficient. 

Recorded Audition Requirements:

  • Woodwind/Brass: Prepared solo with contrasting sections/movements (fast/technical & slow/lyrical)
  • Percussion: Snare drum solo and a mallet instrument solo (marimba or xylophone preferred) of their choice. Students may also submit an optional third solo on another instrument of their choice: e.g. drum set, quads, or timpani.

Policies for CYWS Members

Attendance, Requirements & Alerts


Only if needed, CYWS members are permitted a maximum of two absences per semester (Sept-Dec; Jan-May). These include absences for the ACT/SAT test, college visitations, religious observance, family obligations, illness, etc. CYWS members are excused from rehearsal for school music obligations. Members must meet the terms of the attendance policy in order to participate in an upcoming performance. If an absence is due to an illness, please send an email to your CYWS group staff manager and/or bring a note from your parent the following week explaining your absence.

School Music Program Participation

All members of CYWS are required to maintain full participation in their school instrumental music program. In the case of a conflict between CYWS and a school music event, members must fulfill their commitment to their school music program. Members should compare their CYWS and school music calendars on a regular basis and bring any conflicts to the attention of the music director as early as possible. When members have school music conflicts, they must complete the absence request form.


Official weather cancellations will be broadcast on WKYC Channel 3 News. Those who travel great distances or live in snow-prone areas are advised to use discretion and good judgment during inclement weather.

The Preparatory & Continuing Education Division will always attempt to cancel events at the earliest feasible time.