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Orchestra Program

Audition Info

Thank you for your interest in auditioning for the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra.

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. 

With its sophisticated programming, performances in one of the world's greatest concert halls, superb musical leadership under Music Director Michael Repper, new works commissioned of the nation's best young composers, outstanding soloists, and professional-level attitude, the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra sets itself apart as one of the finest ensembles in the nation.

Due to COVID-19 and the closing of Carnegie Hall through January 2021, the orchestra will devote its fall schedule to a professional recording featuring works by Jessie Montgomery, Valerie Coleman, and Florence Price. The recording project will take place in accordance with social distance guidelines. Rehearsals in September will be online, and subsequent rehearsals will take place in person, in small groups. At this time, the March and May Carnegie Hall performances remain on the season calendar as planned.

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 email afischer(at)nyys(dot)org. Please allow 2-3 business days for a response as staff are working remotely.

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.

Audition Dates

Orchestra auditions will be held August 21 through September 7 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.

Rehearsal and Concert Information

Rehearsals are held on Sundays from 2-6pm. September rehearsals will be held online. Subsequent rehearsals will be held at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, located at 450 West 37th Street, New York, NY. The first rehearsal is scheduled for Sunday, September 13, 2020. Download the 20/21 Season Schedule Here.

Recording Project 
Valerie Coleman: Umoja
Jessie Montgomery: Soul Force
Florence Price: Ethiopia’s Shadow in America
Florence Price: Piano Concerto in One Movement, featuring Michelle Cann, piano

Kick-Off Weekend

Due to COVID-19, Kickoff Weekend has been cancelled this season.

Attendance Guidelines

Students are allowed a maximum of two excused absences during each concert cycle, up to a total of five absences for the season. Please note that there are mandatory rehearsals and performances for each concert cycle. Mandatory dates are noted in the program calendar which is distributed upon acceptance to the program. Absences from mandatory events will result in dismissal from the concert and/or program, with the possible exception of a death in the family or a serious medical emergency.

Fees & Financial Aid

There is a non-refundable application fee of $95. In addition to the application fee, there is a $595 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.

What to Expect at Your Audition

Orchestra auditions will be held August 21 through September 7 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 email squill(at)nyys(dot)org to make alternate arrangements.

Auditions are 10 minutes long, and are heard by the Music Director and Assistant Conductor. Please join the Zoom Waiting Room 5 minutes prior to your scheduled audition. Please test your sound settings prior to your audition.

During your audition you will be asked to play orchestral excerpts per instrument as well as solo repertoire. Due to time limitations at the audition, you may not be asked to perform each excerpt or your solo repertoire. Please place the highest priority in your preparation on the excerpts.

You may also be asked to sight-read, and demonstrate basic techniques on your instrument, which may include knowledge of major and minor scales and/or bowing/tonguing techniques.


If you do not have live access to your percussion (glock, xylophone, snare, tambourine, triangle, cymbals) or timpani, you may submit up to four (4) previously recorded videos of your playing on those instruments within your application (excerpts or ensemble videos are acceptable.) Please include the name of the ensemble you are playing with if in an ensemble setting and the composer and piece title in the video file.


Excerpts for each instrument are available here.