The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra is committed to growing the next generation of musicians through our educational programs and offerings. By funding innovative programs like the String Sprouts, Immersion Weekends, and the Steamboat Springs High School Orchestra, we are helping to develop the skills and talents of young musicians in our community unlike any other nonprofit in Northwest Colorado.

Immersion Weekends

Students of all ages and abilities gather twice a year for immersive weekends with Music Director Ernest Richardson and members of the orchestra. The weekend culminates in a free Celebration Concert.

More info on the Immersion Program

“Immersion” consists of two programs. Immersion Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble. 

Immersion Orchestra Program

Students of all ages, with a foundational through advanced level of learning in bowed string instruments (violin, viola, cello, and double bass, Suzuki Books 1 – 10 or equivalent) are invited to participate in the Immersion Orchestra Program.  Students select ability-appropriate pieces from a list of provided repertoire and prepare their chosen piece(s) before rehearsals begin.  During Immersion Weekend, students come together under the direction of Steamboat Symphony’s very own conductor, Ernest Richardson, and play alongside Steamboat Symphony Orchestra (SSO) professionals to create an Immersion Orchestra. The Immersion Orchestra performs its pieces at the Celebration Concert on Sunday afternoon. 

Chamber Ensemble Program

String students at Suzuki Book 2 level and higher with strong note-reading skills may also register to participate in a Chamber Ensemble. A Chamber Ensemble is a small group of musicians, such as a string quartet or trio. Registered students will be grouped by skill level and assigned a specific piece to practice and perform. This program includes 3-4 ensemble coaching sessions with SSO professionals prior to Immersion Weekend. During Immersion Weekend, each group will receive additional coaching from SSO’s Conductor, Ernest Richardson. The Chamber Ensembles perform their pieces at the Celebration Concert on Sunday afternoon.



Summer Immersion

Learn practice techniques, play chamber music with distinguished artists and faculty from your Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory, and play in a string orchestra conducted by Maestro Richardson. Talk to your current teacher to find out if this opportunity is right for you!

More info on Summer Immersion


Summer Immersion is a week-long, half-day camp in Steamboat Springs with a focus on chamber ensembles and string orchestra immersion for violin, viola, cello and double bass. You’ll be coached and conducted by Maestro Ernest Richardson while playing alongside lead strings instructors from the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra and strings faculty from the collaborating organization Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory.


Monday – Friday 8:30am – 12:00pm

*Monday registration 8:15am

Celebration Concert Friday 6:30pm





The minimum requirements are age 6, Suzuki Book 1 and higher.



Registration for Summer Immersion opens TBD




As Summer Immersion is a week-long, half-day camp, no accommodations are provided. Participants are required to arrange their own transport and accommodations. The SSO Operations Director will gladly answer any questions regarding accommodation options.

Steamboat Springs High School Orchestra

Now in its 6th year, the Steamboat Springs High School Orchestra is a partnership between the SSO and the Steamboat Springs School District. Led by Concertmaster and Education Director Teresa Steffen Greenlee and High School Music Director Wendy Dillon, the program has grown from 11 students in its pilot year to nearly 50 students from across the Yampa Valley. The ensemble has won top honors at festivals across the state, and many players have earned spots in the prestigious Colorado All-State Orchestras. In addition to scholastic performances, students also have the opportunity to perform alongside members of the orchestra and appear annually at one of their concerts.

String Sprouts

String Sprouts is a revolutionary program providing five years of free violin lessons for children in Steamboat Springs! 

We believe in providing access to musical excellence for those that might not have the opportunity otherwise. That’s why we’re proud to be opening our first String Sprouts program at the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado. Donate to support this free and impactful program – the only of it’s kind – in the Yampa Valley! 

Professional Musician Mentoring

There’s nothing quite like the education that happens when students are able to perform alongside professionals. Several times a year, our principal players, guest artists, and other members of the orchestra join local middle and high school music students in rehearsals. Orchestra members also help lead sectionals and provide one-on-one instruction.