A Little History…

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 from 1984-1994 and again from 1998 through the 2011-2012 season. Concerts are now presented at numerous sites around the city of Denver. The CYSO rehearses at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice.

Meet the CYSO Conductors…

CYSO Music Director and Symphony conductor Angie Dombrowski

Angie Dombrowski,
Symphony Conductor


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.

Regan Kane, CYSO Sinfonia conductor

Regan Kane,
Sinfonia Conductor


Regan Kane began Suzuki violin lessons at age 5. She now holds a Bachelor's in Violin Performance from Drake University, where she received the Frank Noyes Violin Award, and a Master's in Violin Performance from the University of Colorado, where she studied chamber music with the Takács Quartet. She's a member of the Boulder Philharmonic and Greeley Philharmonic and a frequent performer with the Colorado Symphony's Up Close and Musical program. 

Previously she played with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the New World Symphony in Miami, and the Colorado Music Festival. She plays with several small ensembles, including the Chen Quartet, and was chosen to perform with the Nacht Quartet in Berlin, Germany. She has taught violin in private and group settings and has conducted the orchestra program at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette.

Brandon Matthews, CYSO Philharmonia conductor

Brandon Matthews,
Philharmonia Conductor


Philharmonia Conductor Brandon Matthews serves as Director of Orchestras at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Besides teaching conducting and leading the University’s two orchestral ensembles, Dr. Matthews also he serves as music director for MSU Denver's Opera Ensemble. Dr. Matthews is also an active adjudicator and clinician for competitions and honor orchestras, and regularly collaborates with orchestras and arts organizations in Colorado including the Arapahoe Philharmonic, Longmont Dance Theatre, the Boulder Symphony, and the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra.  Raised in Spokane, Washington, he began his musical studies as a pianist at age five and later began the viola in the public school system. His musical training continued during summers spent at the Brevard Music Center and the Marrowstone Summer Festival. He received a bachelor of music degree in piano performance at BYU, and continues to perform on piano, viola as well as the violin. Dr. Matthews resides in Denver with his wife, Meghan, and their four children.

CYSO Wind Ensemble conductor Grant Larson

Grant Larson,
Wind Ensemble Conductor


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.

Emily Ondracek-Peterson

Emily Ondracek-Peterson,
String & Sectional Coach


Dr. Emily Ondracek-Peterson, a Chicago native, began playing the violin at age four and made her solo debut with the Chicago Symphony when she was sixteen. Emily has performed solo and chamber performances at the major venues in New York City, including Avery Fisher Hall (with the New York Philharmonic), Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim, MoMA, le poisson rouge, the Apollo Theatre, Alvin Ailey Dance Center, Steinway Hall, and Symphony Space.

Emily earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Juilliard, where she studied with Masao Kawasaki under a Morse Scholarship. She received her Doctorate in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Emily is the new violin professor at Metro State University in Denver. She's a certified Suzuki instructor and teaches at Suzuki institutes and workshops throughout the country.

…and Executive Director

CYSO Executive Director Michelle Orman

Michelle Orman,
Executive Director


Michelle Orman is in her tenth 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 a professional musician. She plays Principal Clarinet with Opera Colorado, the Colorado Ballet Orchestra, and the Greeley Philharmonic, 2nd Clarinet with the Central City Opera, and Bass Clarinet with the Boulder Philharmonic. She frequently performs with the Colorado Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony in Texas. She is Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at the University of Northern Colorado, has an active clarinet studio in Denver, and has been working with youth orchestras since 1980.