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Jazz Program

Audition Info

Thank you for your interest in auditioning for the New York Youth Symphony's Jazz Program (NYYS Jazz)!

Applications for the 2020/2021 season are now open. Click here to start your application.

Auditions will be held via Zoom on January 5, 7, and 9, 2021.

Under the direction of Andy Clausen, NYYS Jazz is a 17-member jazz ensemble dedicated to studying, rehearsing, and performing classic big band jazz music. Modeled on the bands of the 1930's and 1940's, the Jazz Program preserves this heritage and, keeping with jazz traditions, incorporates it into the current and emerging styles that define the genre for the present generation. 

This season NYYS Jazz students will study and record repertoire from the canon of big band, swing music. In addition, they will work closely with guest vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles, with whom they will record music written by Ms. Charles, set to the texts of Maya Angelou. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, originally scheduled to perform with the band in May at the Times Center, will also work closely with the students to record and release music inspired by New Orleans. To round out the educational offerings, NYYS Jazz students will receive guidance on adapting to life as a post-COVID musician, including training on recording, sound production and editing, and career coaching.

Director Andy Clausen says, "While we are disappointed not to be able to perform at Dizzy’s Club and The Times Center this season, I am excited to be able to expand both the offerings and the student base of our program this season through the online format! Our aim is to provide an opportunity for young musicians to collaborate with their peers from across the United States and facilitate much-needed connection, camaraderie, and inspiration during these challenging times."

Applicants should review the guidelines on this page to make sure that they can fulfill the commitment to the program before applying. If you have any questions, please email afischer(at)nyys(dot)org. Please allow 2-3 business days for a response as staff are working remotely.


NYYS Jazz sessions will be held over Zoom on Sundays from 5:00-7:30 pm. You may download the Zoom app for free, here.

Audition Dates

Auditions will be held via Zoom on January 5, 7, and 9, 2021.

Download the Zoom app for free, here.

Fees & Financial Aid

There is a $95 non-refundable application fee for the 2020/21 NYYS Jazz season. Upon acceptance to the program there is a $75 registration fee.

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.

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. 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.

What to Expect at Your Audition

Auditions will be held in January 5, 7, and 9, 2021.

Auditions are ten minutes in length. A warm up room is available ten minutes prior to your audition time.

Your audition will consist of the following:

  1. Excerpts (available here)

  2. Improvisation. Please prepare the following songs (included in excerpts):

    • Jerome Kern: "All The Things You Are"

    • Charlie Parker: "Billie's Bounce"

  3. Sight reading

If you wish to be considered for an auxiliary instrument, please prepare an additional excerpt of your choice. Flute and clarinet are desirable as auxiliary instruments.

Drum applicants need to bring their own Cymbals, Universal Clutch, and sticks.

Guitar and Bass applicants need to bring their own cables (amp is provided).


Excerpts for the 2020/2021 Season can be found here.