About the Saxophone Program

The Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey’s Saxophone Program consists of 2 levels: Saxophone Ensemble and Saxophone Choir. Dr. Jordan Smith is the conductor.

The Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey offers the only saxophone program of its kind in the United States, giving students in grades 6-12 the unparalleled opportunity to perform in a large saxophone ensemble setting on the entire family of saxophones, including sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophone. Both ensembles perform challenging and advanced original works, in addition to celebrated orchestral and chamber music transcriptions and arrangements. Entrance into either program requires an audition. The YOCJ Saxophone Program has performed at esteemed venues throughout the world including the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche in Berlin, Germany, Haydn Hall in Eisenstadt, Austria, Betlémská kaple in Prague, Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, and regional NJ venues such as TCNJ, Rutgers University, and Ocean City’s Music Pier.  Students from the Saxophone Program have gone on to study music at institutions such as the Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, University of Maryland, and more.

Acceptance into the YOCJ Saxophone Program is highly selective.  Please carefully review the Audition Requirements and prepare the required material.

The Saxophone Ensemble is the preparatory program for saxophonists in grades 6-9 who perform with YOCJ’s other smaller ensembles at a concert each semester. Select members of the Saxophone Ensemble are also part of YOCJ’s Wind Symphony, which performs on additional concerts. Recent performance repertoire includes works by Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Percy Grainger, Brian Israel, Sam Tobias and more.

The Saxophone Choir consists of students in grades 9-12 and is YOCJ’s advanced saxophone program. In addition to performing works by Debussy, Glazunov, and Vaughan Williams, the Saxophone Choir actively commissions living composers. Works dedicated to the Saxophone Choir include David Noon’s Gran Partita in 2019, a new version of Supra by Jonathan Russell, which was premiered in February 2015 and Proclamation for Saxophone Orchestra by California composer, Adrienne Albert, which was co-premiered in March 2013 with the Saxophone Choir and Hartwick College Saxophone Ensemble. In May of 2015, the Saxophone Choir gave the U.S. premiere of Araneum by Austrian Composer Daniel Muck. In addition, many Saxophone Choir students have written and conducted their own arrangements for the Choir, including a Harry Potter Medley arranged by senior Haley Jetter in 2017, and other medleys of music from West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, and Lord of the Rings by other students. Outside of YOCJ, members of the Saxophone Choir are regularly winners of placement into All-State and Region Band festivals.

Check out the YOCJ Saxophone Choir on Facebook:

Visit the Saxophone Choir YouTube Channel:

Important Information

• The Saxophone Ensemble rehearses on Tuesdays, 7:00pm to 7:45pm. These students can either JUST be in the Saxophone Ensemble or in BOTH the Wind Symphony and Saxophone Ensemble, at the discretion of the conductors.
• The Saxophone Choir rehearses on Tuesdays, 7:50pm to 8:50pm.

Audition to join the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey

Young musicians (elementary through high school) are all welcomed to audition for The Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey in January, June, and September.

Students MUST study privately and be enrolled in either their school band or orchestra in order to become and remain a member of YOCJ. Recommendation by the student’s private teacher is required. Homeschoolers are also invited to audition!

Click HERE for complete audition information and upcoming DATES.

Instrumental assignments are chosen at the discretion of the director.  Depending on your audition results, you may be asked to play on a saxophone other than the one you auditioned on.  These saxophones will be provided for you by YOCJ if necessary.  Questions should be directed to Dr. Jordan Smith.