About the DSA Orchestra

The Denver School of the Arts Orchestra (DSAO) is an intensive program for string musicians seeking to develop their talent, understanding, and passion for music. It is made up of two primary performing groups: the DSA High School Advanced Orchestra and the DSA Middle School Sinfonia. Ancillary groups consist of chamber music ensembles, master classes, jazz and full orchestra ensembles, as well as opportunities to perform in a music theater setting.

DSAO prepares students who want to become professional musicians but also serves those wishing to pursue music for their own enrichment or to participate in community and college ensembles. Collaboration with other majors at the school — such as dance, vocal, theater, visual art and creative writing — is encouraged and fostered. Regional, national, and international travel is incorporated into the orchestra curricula as a means of providing opportunities to perform at competitions and festivals. This exposes students to master classes, clinics and adjudications with world-class music professionals, promoting global awareness and evolving cultural ambassadorship. 


One of the highlights of the DSAO experience is the ability to work with professional musicians. We have Master Mentors, a series of carefully chosen local musicians who work with students in various groups such as sectionals and chamber music coaching. They lead in-depth, specialized sessions, in order to complement the Director’s work in large group settings. We also invite Visiting Artists from around the country to perform and share their experiences as professional musicians so that students can learn how to apply their talent beyond the high school setting.


Faculty

Dr. Enrique Lasansky

Dr. Enrique Leon Lasansky was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He came to the United States at the age of 9. His musical studies began as a clarinetist. Enrique was a student of the legendary, Anthony Gigliotti, long-time 1st clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Upon graduation from Swarthmore College, Enrique received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for clarinet and conducting studies in Europe. Subsequently, he received an M.F.A In Orchestral Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University. During four summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Advanced Conductors in Maine and in private lessons at Hartford, Enrique studied with his principal conducting influence, Charles Bruck. Maestro Bruck was Pierre Monteux’s  (conductor who premiered The Rite of Spring) main protege. In 1991 Enrique Lasansky received a Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting from the University of Arizona. That same year he founded the Catalina Chamber Orchestra (CCO) in Tucson where he served as Music Director from 1991- 2008. Dr. Lasansky also served as clarinetist and bass clarinetist with the Arizona Opera Company.

The CCO started as an amateur group and became a professional ensemble by 2002. The orchestra produced two CD’s, “The Catalina Chamber Orchestra” and “New Music from the Southwest”.  Both cd’s were favorably reviewed in both local and national media.  In addition, the CCO was on the Roster of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and performed numerous concerts and workshops in the public schools. The CCO championed contemporary music and performed numerous compositions written expressly for the group.

Enrique Lasansky has appeared as guest conductor with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Tucson-Messiah Sing-In, Pima Community College Opera Theater, The Chandler Symphony, The Orquesta de Avellaneda in Buenos Aires, The Paris Sinfonietta and two appearances with La Orquesta del Estado de Mexico, one of Mexico’s major professional orchestras. Recently he conducted the Wieck Chamber Singers and Orchestra, a professional oratorio and opera organization. Dr. Lasansky was named conductor of the Golden Corridor Orchestra in Pinal County, Arizona in 2010.

In addition to being a clarinetist, Dr. Lasansky plays violin, viola and piano. He has taught string orchestra in the public schools of San Antonio, Texas and Tucson, Arizona for thirteen years.  His groups have performed with distinction at numerous festivals and competitions.

Master Mentors

The DSAO Master Mentor program provides students with a broad range of musical perspectives and expertise with the intention of expanding their world-view of the arts.

Thanks so much for the talented Master Mentors that help our DSAO students each week.

Greg Abrell, violin

Matt Diekman, violin

Robyn Julyan, violin

Benjamin Tomkins, violin

Enion Pelta-Tiller, viola

David Short, cello

Jacob Thurston, bass

Cathy Peterson, wind instruments

Visiting Artists

DSAO members are fortunate to experience first-hand some of the top performers, composers and pedagogues in the music industry. Throughout the school year, we invite musicians from around the world to work with our students. Their time at our school is usually brief, ranging from a few hours to a few days, but their impact on our students is far reaching, often lasting a lifetime. Funding for the DSAO Visiting Artist program relies solely on contributions and fundraising.

Curriculum/Objectives

The DSAO Program is designed to work toward four goals:

• Development of students’ skills as ensemble players — concentration, listening, instantaneous adjustment, breathing, following the conductor’s visual and verbal instructions, retention of information over the span of a rehearsal sequence
• Development of students’ professional habits and ethics — preparation, promptness, mutual support and moral character
• Development of students’ knowledge of the orchestra repertoire and of a range of appropriate playing styles
• Development of an ensemble whose performances exhibit a very high level of competence and artistry

Audition Information

Here is the general Audition Requirements for Orchestra:

Stringed instruments eligible to audition at DSA are Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass (Acoustic), and Harp. Applicants need to submit a pre-recorded video of the material listed below that shows the applicant clearly. You may record as many times as needed to get a good product; however, editing the video in any way is not permitted. Each item of the required music must be presented as a “complete take.” All of the playing on the video must, of course, be by the applicant. Both the music and speaking portions of your audition should be included in a single video file.

Middle School Applicants must record and submit a live performance consisting of:

  • One major scale and one melodic minor scale (two octaves 0-3 sharps or flats) plus a two octave G chromatic scale. Three octave scales are optional.
  • A solo of your choice that demonstrates lyric and technical abilities (or two contrasting solos).
  • In lieu of a live interview, we’d like your audition video to include information about you as a person. Specifically, please tell us about your work ethic, your passion for music and the arts, your ability to be part of a team, your ability to work with a variety of teachers to improve your musicianship, and anything else you’d like to share. This part of the video should last about 5 minutes.

High School Applications must record and submit a live performance consisting of:

  • One major scale and one melodic minor scale (three octaves 4-7 sharps or flats) plus a three octave G chromatic scale.
  • A solo of your choice that demonstrates lyric and technical abilities (or two contrasting solos). 
  • In lieu of a live interview, we’d like your audition video to include information about you as a person. Specifically, please tell us about your work ethic, your passion for music and the arts, your ability to be part of a team, your ability to work with a variety of teachers to improve your musicianship, and anything else you’d like to share. This part of the video should last about 5 minutes.
Orchestra Awards/Honors
2020

The Denver School of the Art Orchestra (DSAO) is selected as 2020 winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance in the High School Division. The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the classical arts. The American Prize is nonprofit, unique in scope and structure, and is designed to evaluate, recognize and reward the best performers, ensembles and composers in the United States.


Maria Ciobanun performs with the Phamaly Theater Company on Ellis Island in collaboration with DYAO.

2019

DSA high school orchestra student Lily Primus wins 1st prize at the Denver Young Artists Orchestra concerto competition. She performs Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro with the DYAO in Boettcher Hall on Sunday April 26th.

Lily Primus, is also a featured performer on CPR’s holiday CD, “Comfort and Joy,” where she performs “Greensleeves” with the Colorado Chamber Players.  You can read about Lily’s contribution to the CD and order by clicking here


DSA Middle School students Ginevra Strasser wins 1st prize, and Nathaniel Lasaga-Ivey wins 3rd prize at the “Rising Stars” Competition in the Junior Instrumental division.


The following DSA Middle/High School Orchestra students won 1st place at the “Rising Stars Competition” in the Junior Ensembles division.

Camryn Olsten: 1st Violin
Ginevra Strasser: 2nd Violin
Chloe Slane : Viola
Sydelle Buyungo: Cello


Congratulations to the following students who were accepted into Colorado All-State Orchestra performing February 7-9, 2019 in Ft. Collins:

Thea Dardanis, cello
Claire Harris, viola
Anne Martz, flute
Daniel Orthel, trombone
Lily Primus, harp
Ben Segall, oboe
Caden Sader, flute
Dylan Tyree, cello


DSA middle school orchestra student Camryn Olsten performed with the Piano Guys at Red Rocks . She also won in the EOP String Junior Competition at Metro State, the
Young Artist Alliance (TASHCO) Senior B Division.

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