Membership in the Austin Youth Sinfonietta Orchestra is open to all interested students in grade 6 and above who qualify through the audition process. String students from schools with orchestra programs must be a member in good standing in their school orchestra. Wind and percussion students must be members in good standing in their school band programs. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon return of the membership acceptance form with the school orchestra/band director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra/band program and payment of the tuition fee.
Rachel Horvitz received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001. While at UT she studied under distinguished cello professor Phyllis Young and regularly performed with the UT Cello Choir and the UT Symphony along with instructing various ensembles in the UT String Project. Currently Ms. Horvitz is in her tenth year as the Hill Country Middle School Orchestra Director in Eanes ISD, located in Austin, Texas. During her tenure at HCMS, her ensembles have consistently received UIL Sweepstakes awards and in addition, the Sinfonia Orchestra has been recognized as Outstanding in Class, both as a string and full orchestra ensemble at the Director’s Choice Alamo Showcase. Under her leadership at HCMS, student membership in string orchestra at the campus level greatly increased along with the creation in 2011 of the highly successful Full Orchestra program. In 2017, the Hill Country Middle School Full Orchestra was named the Texas Music Educators Association Full Honor Orchestra and prepared a featured performance at the TMEA Clinic and Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Previous to teaching in EISD, Ms. Horvitz taught at Lamar Middle School in Austin ISD, achieving Superior ratings at UIL and Sweepstakes. From 2008 to 2013 she served as a conductor for Austin Youth Orchestra, leading first the Intermezzo Orchestra and later the Camerata Orchestra. Now in her seventeenth year of teaching middle school orchestra in the Austin public schools, she has also previously served as teaching faculty for the Longhorn Music Camp and Austin Chamber Music Center and serves as a clinician and adjudicator in Central Texas. In 2013 she earned a Masters in Secondary Education from Texas State University as part of the Partnership for Teacher Excellence Program sponsored by the Eanes Education Foundation.
Ms. Horvitz has dedicated much of her free time to performing in local orchestras and chamber groups including Temple and Georgetown Symphony and Musical Discovery Chamber Players. Her professional memberships include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association and Texas Music Adjudicators Association.
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The Sinfonietta Orchestra rehearses on Monday evenings of the fall and spring semesters, 7:15–8:30 P.M. at O.Henry Middle School.