Longmont Youth Symphony
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About the LYS

The Longmont Youth Symphony  is committed to serving the young musicians of the St. Vrain Valley and surrounding areas. The LYS provides a resource for young musicians to further develop and excel in their musical abilities through the guidance of professional leadership and direction. By doing so, we enable our youth to entertain, educate, and expand appreciation of music within the community.

Acceptance into our Orchestra and Ensembles is by audition only.


  • Public Concerts, including ones with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra and the Boulder Symphony Orchestra

  • Challenging music, designed to help every student grow

  • Exposure to a broad sampling of musical repertoire

  • Programs for younger musicians, in the Longmont Youth Strings Ensemble and Longmont Youth Wind Ensemble.

  • Retreats, picnics, and fun!

Our Ensembles


Longmont Youth Symphony Orchestra

The Longmont Youth Symphony Orchestra is an honors symphony orchestra (including string, wind, brass and percussion instruments) for advanced student musicians. Rehearsals take place on Saturday mornings throughout the school year from 9:00am to 11:45am. Six performances per year, including side-by-side performances with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra and the Boulder Symphony Orchestra as well as joint concerts with our other ensembles.


The LYSO Offers:

  • Public Concerts, including side-by-sides with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra and Boulder Symphony Orchestra

  • Challenging music, designed to help every student grow

  • Exposure to a broad sampling of musical repertoire

  • Retreats, July 4 Concert in the Park, picnics, and fun!


Longmont Youth Strings Ensemble and Wind Ensemble

Our program is a rewarding opportunity for players to expand and develop their musical abilities. Students are taught by professional musicians; they are also inspired and mentored by the more advanced student musicians who are members of the Longmont Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Challenging musical repertoire will help students to rapidly increase their skill level as they enjoy interacting with their musical peers. Typically, our students take private music lessons and are members of their school orchestra program. Our ensembles are an excellent opportunity for students to enrich their school music education and gain more performance experience. Many Ensemble students progress and move on to audition for our full youth symphony orchestra.

The Longmont Youth Strings Ensemble consists of the following instrumentation:

  • Violin I/II

  • Viola

  • Cello

  • Bass

The Longmont Youth Wind Ensemble is a wind and brass orchestra with the following instrumentation:

  • English Horn

  • Bassoon

  • French Horn

  • Trumpet

  • Trombone

  • Baritone (Euphonium)

  • Tuba

  • Percussion

  • Flute

  • Piccolo

  • Oboe

  • Clarinet

  • Bass Clarinet

  • Alto Saxophone

  • Tenor Saxophone

  • Baritone Saxophone

Our Directors


Mr. Yin-feng Keynes Chen

Director, Youth Symphony Orchestra

Mr. Yin-feng Keynes Chen, an award-winning musician, is an active concert violinist, conductor, and music educator.

He began his violin studying at the age of four, entered Chongqing School of the Arts at age 10, then the prestigious Shanghai Music conservatory at age thirteen. Mr. Chen received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder). He was also selected as the first violinist of CU Boulder’s Graduate String Quartet in Residence.

Currently, Mr. Chen holds positions as the Concertmaster of the Boulder Symphony since 2012; the President, violin instructor, Chamber Ensemble Coach at the Flatirons Strings Academy in Boulder, Colorado since 2005; and he is also the Music Director of the Longmont Youth Symphony in Colorado since 2007.

Besides performing regularly during the past many years as a violinist with most of the regional major orchestras, he also was the Executive Director at the A Mid-Summer Day’s Dream summer music camp from 2004-2015; Artistic Director and Chamber Music Director of the Boulder Youth Symphony for five years; Conductor of the Colorado Youth Symphony’s Philharmonia Orchestra for five years; Conductor of the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra for one year; principal violin instructor at the Englewood Arts for Three years.

In the summer of 2010, Mr. Chen lead a successful youth symphony tour in China for 18 days and visited eight different cities and performed at major concert halls and at many schools in China. In addition to performing concerts there, Mr. Chen was invited to conduct chamber music master classes at the following schools: the famous China Central Music Conservator, Beijing; the prestigious China Music Conservatory, Beijing; and the South-China Normal University, Guangzhou. In recent years Mr. Chen has been frequently invited to conduct lectures and master-classes in various music institutions and schools mostly in Guangzhou and Sichuan provinces in China. Since 2017, Singapore has been added to this list as well.

Mr. Chen has received many prestigious titles and awards through out his musical and educational career. He was awarded as the Artist of the Year of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Multicultural Awards in the Front Range area in 2016; First Prize winner in the 2002 Bruce Ekstrand Music Competition and its Audience’s Award with his former quartet-Nacht Quartet; Performance Teaching Assistant at CU Boulder; winner of both the State and Regional division of the Music Teachers’ National Association Music Competition in 2001; First Prize winner of University of Colorado’s Concerto Competition in 2000; the recipient of the Denés Korómzay Chamber Music Award in 1999.


Ms. Katarina Schmitt

Direcetor, Youth Strings Ensemble

Ms. Katarina Schmitt has been active in the music community of Longmont since 2014. She is Director of Orchestras at Mead High School, where she also enjoys teaching AP Music Theory and Guitar. Her orchestras have earned Excellent and Superior ratings at a variety of music festivals across the state.

Katarina holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where she graduated magna cum laude and with distinction in the field. She also holds a Master of Music degree with emphasis in conducting from Colorado State University.

Katarina resides in Northglenn with her husband, daughter, and two dogs whose names are Gustav and Wolfgang after the famous composers. She is thrilled to be continuing to serve the musical community of Longmont and looks forward to every opportunity to make music with the wonderful members of the Longmont Youth Strings Ensemble!


Mr. Sean Kemp

Director, Youth Wind Ensemble

Mr. Sean Kemp began teaching music in 2000, and has taught at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels throughout his career.

In May 2015, he completed a Master of Music Education degree at the University of Colorado where he was a Teaching Assistant tasked with teaching undergraduate music education classes. In addition to his work with the Longmont Youth Symphony, Mr. Kemp is the Middle School Director for Instrumental and Choral Music at Flagstaff Academy in Longmont, CO. His primary instrument is Euphonium.