2023-2024 Student Side-By-Side Program

Experience a chance to rehearse and perform with the PSO


Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to perform on the Heinz Hall stage? How about what it’s like to play with a professional orchestra? Well, now is your chance!

The PSO's Student Side-by-Side program gives musicians in grades 9-12 the experience of rehearsing and performing “side-by-side” with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. You’ll receive personal coaching from PSO musicians, attend student-only rehearsals led by PSO Associate Conductor Moon Doh, and participate in a full orchestra concert with PSO musicians on the Heinz Hall stage!

Excited to participate? Read below about how to submit an application.

Our previous concert and sectionals



What's it like to be part of the program?

The opportunity to play at Heinz Hall with the PSO was amazing and also really fun! It introduced me to the basics of how professional orchestras work and gave me the opportunity to get feedback from professionals!"
The PSO sectional coaches taught me a lot about the music, and I felt like it was an open and safe environment to create music."
I really liked the exciting atmosphere and environment that the conductor created every time we had rehearsal."
This was one of my all-time best memories. Listening to the PSO or even rehearsing with PSO musicians can never quite replicate the astonishing feeling you get performing with world class musicians for an enthusiastic audience in a beautiful hall."
The PSO stand partner was very informative and taught in a way that was encouraging and not overwhelming."

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to audition or submit a video?

No, there is no video or in-person audition required to participate in the Side-by-Side program. All you need is the application and teacher recommendation.

How advanced of a musician do I need to be?

Any level of musician can apply! Within the application, particular emphasis is placed on the teacher recommendation section for this reason.

Do I have to take private lessons?

No! Your teacher recommendation can be from a music teacher at school or from a private teacher.

Do I need to be accepted into a music program after high school to apply?

Not at all! Side-by-Side is for all high school student musicians, regardless of your plans after high school. You just have to be in grades 9-12, play an instrument, and love music!

How challenging is the repertoire?

While it’s not the most difficult music in the world, it’s still designed to help challenge and broaden your musical skills. Previous pieces include Selections from Bizet’s Carmen, Overture to Poet and Peasant by Franz Von Suppé, Tchaikovsky’ “Finale” from Symphony No.4 in F minor, Opus 36, and “Nimrod” from Variations on an original theme, Opus 36 “Enigma Variations” by Edward Elgar.

What instruments can apply for the program?

Pretty much any instrument in an orchestra. Violin? You got it. Trumpet? Sure. Harp? Of course! Air Guitar? Well, let’s not go too far. (Sorry, no saxophone, baritone/euphonium or piano at this time)