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.
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 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.
Philharmonia conductor Chris Jusell began his studies on the violin at the age of 11. He is Concertmaster of the Greeley Philharmonic and a member of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Colorado Ballet, and Sphere Ensemble. He also frequently performs with Opera Colorado, the Colorado Symphony, Central City Opera, the Boulder Philharmonic, and the Colorado Music Festival. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Colorado State University, where he studied with Dr. Ron Francois. He also attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studying with Dr. John Fadial. He plays in the Fort Collins-based folk band Danielle Ate the Sandwich and with the ambient musician M. Sage, and lives in Denver.
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.
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.
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.