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Apprentice Conducting Program

Audition Info

Thank you for your interest in auditioning for the Robert L. Poster Apprentice Conducting Program!

Applications for the 2020/21 season are now closed. We invite you to apply for the 2021/2022 season - please check back in June 2021 for further information.

The health and safety of NYYS students and their families are of the greatest importance to the NYYS. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all auditions will be held online, via Zoom. In addition, NYYS will hold 2020/2021 activities both online and in-person in accordance with governmental regulations.

“The orchestra has been a training ground for conductors who have gone on to bigger things.”  -The New York Times 

The world’s finest emerging conductors have found the Robert L. Poster Apprentice Conducting Program to be an unparalleled opportunity to sharpen their craft, develop their talent, and gain exposure in front of New York's discerning audiences. Under guidance from NYYS Music Director Michael Repper and Assistant Conductor Alan Buxbaum, this program gives aspiring orchestral conductors the opportunity to study the art of conducting through rehearsal technique, stick technique, score analysis, podium time, and observation.

We encourage each applicant to review the guidelines on this page to make sure that they can fulfill the commitment to the program before applying. If you have questions, please contact the NYYS office at (212) 581-5933.

Age Eligibility

New York Youth Symphony serves students between the ages of 12 and 22. In order to participate in the 2021/2022 season, the applicant's birth date must be no earlier than May 31, 1999 and no later than November 1, 2009, inclusive. Please do not apply if your birth date falls outside of these dates as you will not be eligible for the program and we are not able to refund your application fee.

Conducting Audition Information

Interviews will be held on September 16, 2020 via Zoom - please download the Zoom app for free here. Upon completing the online application, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to schedule your audition online. If you are unable to access Zoom for your audition, please contact Shauna Quill at squill(at)nyys(dot)org to make alternate arrangements.

Within your application you will be asked to submit the following materials: 

  • Letter of intent (no more than one page) outlining why you are interested in the Apprentice Conducting program and your future goals as a musician/conductor. Returning students will be asked to address their growth as a conductor, and in what area they hope to grow the most this year if admitted.
  • Letter of recommendation (preferably from a musician).
  • Video clip of your conducting (accessible online via YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, etc.). Please note: If you do not have a video excerpt, you will still be eligible to participate in the program.

Rehearsals and Performances

The Apprentice Conducting students will meet from 12pm-1:30pm approximately six sessions per concert cycle. Due to COVID-19, fall conducting sessions will be held online via Zoom. Score discussion will largely focus on the repertoire currently being played by the Orchestra. In addition to its seminars, participants must attend a minimum of five Orchestra rehearsals and one Orchestra concert per cycle. Due to COVID-19, orchestra rehearsals in September will be online, and subsequent rehearsals will take place in person, in small groups. Conducting students will also attend at least one rehearsal of a professional orchestra in New York City during the year.

Students will have the opportunity to conduct small ensembles throughout the year. The Apprentice Conducting Program culminates with the apprentice conductors working directly with a composer of the NYYS Composition Program to prepare, rehearse, and perform a newly composed piece at the Composition Date Concert at Symphony Space on May 13, 2021.

Fees & Financial Aid

A non-refundable application fee for the 2020/2021 season is $95. In addition to the application fee, there is a $155 registration fee upon acceptance into the program. 

The NYYS recognizes that the cost of application and registration fees may be prohibitive for some students, and that access to technology may be a barrier to participation in online activities. Financial aid, application fee waivers, work-study, and technology funds are available to help offset these expenses. Financial need is the major consideration when awarding assistance. We ask that students seek funding through their personal networks in addition to completing the financial aid application as funds are limited.

Application fee waivers require prior approval. 
Click here to request an application fee waiver. 
Please wait for a response before beginning your program application. You will receive a response within 48 hours of submitting your request.

Additional financial aid is available within the NYYS program application.