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The New York Youth Symphony's Composition Program, formerly known as "Making Score," offers student composers the opportunity to explore the world of composition and orchestration through seminars, individual tutorials, and workshops, plus reading sessions with professional musicians, and performances. Led by Director Dr. Kyle Blaha, and Associate Director Tim Mauthe, the seminars explore the musical thought of a wide variety of composers, with a focus on instrumentation and orchestration. Examples are drawn from the vast classical repertoire and a range of musical traditions from throughout the world. Using tools such as study scores and orchestration books, the course aims to cultivate the students' own voices through class discussion, written exercises, and free composition. 

Distinguished composers visit sessions throughout the season, offering students an inside look at the creative process. Recent guests have included Christopher Rouse, John Harbison, Julia Wolfe, Melinda Wagner, John Corigliano, Maria Schneider, Stephen Sondheim, and Michael Torke. Click here to see a complete list of past guest composers.

Special thanks to ASCAP for their continued support of the Composition Program by hosting our composer workshop sessions, and to BMI for hosting the tutorials.

Practical Opportunities

Each year, students compose new works for ensembles including string quartets, woodwind quintets, percussion trios, and more. Students then have opportunities to work directly with professional musicians to have these compositions workshopped, recorded, and performed. Previous guest musicians have included harpist Bridget Kibbey, organist Ryan Jackson, Attacca Quartet, amongst others.

Orchestration Reading is an opportunity for students to compose original works for chamber orchestra, read by DeCoda performing side-by-side with the principal musicians of the NYYS Orchestra. Following the reading of each piece, conducted by NYYS music director Michael Repper, students receive feedback from a mentor composer. Composer Aaron J. Kernis is the mentor composer for the 2017/18 reading session. 


At the annual Composition Date concert at Symphony Space, original student compositions are performed by members of the NYYS Orchestra, Chamber Music, Jazz, and Apprentice Conducting programs.


Click Here to view the schedule of rehearsals

Guest Lecturers

Guest lecturers scheduled for the 55th season include:


Entrance to the program is determined through personal interview with the Directors each September. Please check the audition page of our website for eligibility and fee requirements, application information, and audition dates.

Note: Prospective applicants are urged to review the Musician Guidelines and check for scheduling conflicts before applying for an audition.

Related PDFs:

Alumni Profile

  • I took part in the NYYS Composition program during its 48th, 49th, 50th, and 51st seasons (2010-2014).

Composition Staff