New York Youth Symphony Announces Vargas-Vetter/Ukena Fellowships Supporting Students from Under-served Areas

New York Youth Symphony Announces Vargas-Vetter/Ukena Fellowships Supporting Students from Under-served Areas

New York Youth Symphony (NYYS), under the guidance of a new three-year strategic plan, is launching a new fellowship program to identify, train, and mentor students from underrepresented communities who wish to prepare for and attend college. Students in their sophomore and junior years of high school accepted into the NYYS orchestra, chamber music, jazz, conducting, and composition programs are eligible to apply for the fellowships which will last one or two years. Awarded fellows will participate in the NYYS program of their choice, including performances, rehearsals, sectionals, master classes and workshops, and receive a $5,000 stipend to offset costs of NYYS fees, private lessons, travel, and instrument maintenance. Fellows will be paired with a mentor who will guide them throughout their fellowship and work together to create a personalized roadmap to college.

Fellows are required to meet regularly with their mentor to monitor progress. In addition to regular NYYS program activities, fellows are required to participate in NYYS workshops, including applying to colleges and conservatories, careers in the arts, audition techniques, and audience engagement. Participation in the KIPP Middle School Academy in-school residency, and/or partnerships with Harmony Program and Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL) is also required.

The application process will include a detailed narrative from the student, financial information from the parents, and an interview process for both student and parents.  The selection panel will include members of the artistic and executive staff of the NYYS, whose goal is to select students whose commitment level, passion and drive for the arts match the goals of the fellowship. Applications for the fellowship will be due October 15, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified of their fellowships in December 2017 and will set goals and benchmarks with their mentor as part of their personalized roadmap to college.

The fellowships are made possible through the generosity of New York Youth Symphony Trustee Rima Vargas-Vetter and her husband, Paul Ukena.

Applications are now being accepted for the NYYS programs. (Click here to apply). Auditions are open to students aged 12 through 22, for the Orchestra, Jazz, Chamber Music, Composition, and Apprentice Conducting programs. The organization anticipates 500 student applicants and plans to accept more than 200 students. 

Audition Dates for the 2017/2018 season are:

Orchestra: August 19 - 20, August 28 - September 4, 2017
Jazz: September 17 - 18, 2017
Chamber: September 5 - 17, 2017
Composition: September 14 - 15, 2017
Apprentice Conducting: September 12, 2017

NYYS offers comprehensive training and opportunities to perform repertoire by Rachmaninoff and Dvořák, plus Mussorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition among others at Carnegie Hall under NYYS Music Director Michael Repper. Students study the art of chamber music from masters in the field, including director Dr. Lisa Tipton and perform at Tenri Cultural Center, Symphony Space and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The Jazz program offers students to perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Times Center under director Andy Clausen with Grammy-award-winning saxophonist Ted Nash, vocalist Vuyo Sotashe, and multi-Grammy-award-winning composer, Maria Schneider. The Composition program under director Dr. Kyle Blaha offers workshops and seminars with renowned composers. Students can explore the world of conducting under the guidance of new Music Director Michael Repper with a year-end performance at Symphony Space.

Performances for the 2017/18 Season include:

 ORCHESTRA: Michael Repper, music director

Sunday, November 5, 2017, 5 PM at United Palace of Cultural Arts
Sunday, November 19, 2017, 2 PM at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall

Hilary Purrington: Daylights (First Music commissioned world première)
Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 with Christine Lamprea, cello
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Sunday, March 4, 2018, 5 PM at United Palace of Cultural Arts
Sunday, March 18, 2018, 2 PM at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall

Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol
Thomas Kotcheff: go and (First Music commissioned world première)
Kevin Puts: Flute Concertowith Demarre McGill, flute
Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163,

Sunday, May 27, 2018, 2 PM at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall

Gershwin: Cuban Overture
Peter Shin: Slant (First Music commissioned world première)
Barber: Knoxville: Summer 1915 with Julia Bullock, soprano
Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

JAZZ: Andy Clausen, director

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center:

Monday, December 11, 2017 at 7:30 & 9:30 PM with Ted Nash, saxophone.
Andrew Karboski: Groovement (First Music commissioned world première)

Monday, March 5, 2018 at 7:30 & 9:30 PM with Vuyo Sotashe, vocalist.
Nate Sparks: A Piece for the People (First Music commissioned world première by)

The Times Center:

Monday, May 14, 2018 at 7:30 PM with Maria Schneider, composer.
Jonathan Ragonese: Torgbui (First Music commissioned world première)


CHAMBER MUSIC: Lisa Tipton, director

Three performances:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 8 PM at National Arts Club
Friday, April 27, 2018 at 7:30 PM at Tenri Cultural Institute
Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 7:30 PM at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall 
Daniel McGee: Beneath My Shadow, I Look. (First Music commissioned world première)


COMPOSITION: Dr. Kyle Blaha, director


Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 7:30 PM at Leonard Nimoy Thalia, Symphony Space

Featuring original student compositions performed by members of all NYYS programs.

As part of NYYS’s commitment to strengthen ties with the community, the organization is launching its first in-school residency at KIPP Middle School Academy in the South Bronx, and continuing partnerships with the Harmony Program and Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s, both El Sistema-inspired programs. Free community concerts will be performed by all students, including the orchestra’s performances at the United Palace in Washington Heights on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 5pm and Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 5pm. The NYYS Jazz band will extend its free community concerts out to Brooklyn at Sir D’s Lounge on Monday, November 27 and Monday, April 30th both at 8pm, and Greenwich House Music School on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30pm. The Chamber Music students will perform at locations including Mt. Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, James Lenox House, and more.

NYYS is one of the most awarded youth program of its kind in the nation, recognized for its innovative, tuition-free educational programs for talented young musicians. Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area’s most gifted musicians ages 12-22, its activities have since grown to encompass programs in chamber music, conducting, composition, and jazz, with performances at world class venues including Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Times Center, and Symphony Space.