2022/23 Student Side-By-Side Program

Experience a chance to rehearse and perform “side-by-side” with the orchestra


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!

Our Student Side-by-Side program gives you, a musician in grades 9-12, the experience of not only rehearsing, but also performing “side-by-side” with your Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra counterpart. You’ll receive personal coaching from your musician stand partner, attend rehearsals and sectionals, and participate in full orchestra rehearsals with other student musicians!

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?

It was incredible to perform at Heinz Hall with a PSO member. My stand partner was really nice and encouraging. I hope I get the chance to do this again in the future.
I really liked the repertoire and how it challenged me as a musician. I enjoyed working with the conductor and musicians. They seemed like they really wanted to help us grow as musicians.
Side-by-Side opened my eyes to a new realm of music at a more advanced level of playing. It also encouraged me to fully express the beauty of music with an ensemble.
It gave me an experience that I will never forget, regardless of whether I am going into music or not.

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)


Safety Together

We are committed to ensuring a comfortable, safe, and healthy environment for all. All Side-by-Side participants must provide proof of COVID vaccination in order to participate in the program. Accepted applicants will receive details about how to submit proof of vaccination with their acceptance packet. Additional guidelines for the program may be modified based on the latest public health recommendations. All Side-by-Side participants will receive an email with updated information at least two weeks prior to the start of the program.



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