PhoenixPhest FAQs & Policies

Please read carefully before registering, even if you are a returning student, and let us know if you have any questions. Your support of these policies will help make a better Phest for everyone.

The Phoenix Ensemble does not discriminate based on race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

Am I too young/old/beginning/advanced to do chamber music?

This is the heart of our vision. We will help and inspire you, no matter where you are in your development. Generally we recommend the Phest for students over the age of 8; the Suzuki Workshop is suggested for those under 8. We gladly make exceptions, however. Please call (or have your teacher call us) to discuss.

What are the requirements for a preformed group?

To qualify as a preformed group you must:

  1. have a COMPLETE ensemble;
  2. choose your own music; AND
  3. ensure that every member of your group registers by April 1.

If your plans fall through and you can’t meet these requirements, we will help form your group and/or choose your music. However, you will no longer qualify for the preformed group discount and we may need placement videos from you as well.

What are the requirements for individual registrants?

Groups are formed and repertoire is carefully chosen based on your age and ability. We work carefully to ensure that you will be working with others who are compatible with you.

In return, we expect you to:

  1. Register and send your video as early as possible. The sooner you sign up the better we are able to match you up with an appropriate group.
  2. Respect the director’s decision. In addition to your placement video, director Gabe Bolkosky consults with participants, parents and private teachers in order to come up with group and music assignments. Once an assignment has been made, it is final.
  3. Start practicing your part as soon as you receive your assignment. The more prepared you are, the more rewarding your experience will be. Rehearsing in advance with your group is highly recommended.

What are the placement video requirements?

ALL individual registrants must send us a placement video unless director Gabe Bolkosky has heard you play within the last two months. Preformed group members do not need to send a video. If your preformed group falls through we will need a video from you (see rules for preformed groups above).

The video is for placement purposes only. It does not have to be formal, but please make sure that it is an honest demonstration of your playing. It can include:

  • a selection of a solo piece with or without accompaniment
  • a selection of a chamber work with other players (optional)
  • a short poem recited with dramatic intent (optional)
  • a good knock knock joke (optional)

Please upload your video to youtube with a setting of “unlisted” or “public” (NOT “private”). There is space on the registration form to include the link.

Is there a dress code?

You should dress comfortably since we start each day with yoga. Classes take place in two different buildings (a 5-minute walk) so be prepared for walking outside.

For performances, each ensemble is free to decide for themselves what to wear.

How do we get the music?

You are responsible for obtaining your own music and making sure that all group members are working from the same edition. Although most scores can be downloaded for free at, we recommend that you purchase your own, preferably an edited version (not an urtext). Please note, each member of the group will need their own copy of the full score as well as the individual part.

Do you offer financial aid?

Yes we have two options. You can “earn” up to the amount of your full tuition by selling ads in the PhoenixPhest program book. For every ad you sell, we will credit half the dollar amount towards your tuition. Thanks to our generous donors, we also have a small scholarship fund. It is need-based only. Click here for details & application forms.

Can I request to work with specific faculty?

Yes indeed! Although we can’t promise, we make every effort to accommodate your requests. You can let us know on the registration form, or contact us any time. Coaches’ schedules fill quickly — the sooner you let us know, the better. Note, we will not consider requests from anyone who has not yet registered.

What is your tuition refund policy?

  • The $50 deposit is nonrefundable.
  • Tuition is refundable until May 1. After that we cannot give refunds.

How do I get tickets for the faculty concert?

The faculty concert will be Saturday May 28, 7:30 pm at Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor. Every phester gets two free tickets (i.e. for self + guest), however you must call to reserve your seat. We are taking the reservations, not KCH, so please call 888-929-4383 to make your reservation. Extra tickets are $20 each, payable at the door.

When will I receive my individual schedule?

We normally email individual daily schedules a day or two in advance instead of handing them out at registration. We do this as a courtesy to speed up check-in and save paper. If you do not receive yours via email during the week before the Phest, we will have a printout for you when you arrive.

Can I come and observe the Phest?

Yes, you are welcome to observe chamber coachings and classes. There is no charge for parents; for others the fee is $35 for the weekend, payable at the door. Please let us know that you’re coming. Note, there is a separate fee for observing Terry Durbin’s masterclasses. Faculty concert tickets must also be reserved and paid for separately.