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Chamber Music


"[The Chamber Music Program] is truly a wonderful program for students of chamber music, exceptionally important to a student's growth as a musician as well as a human being." —André Watts, pianist

"The Chamber Music Program of the New York Youth Symphony has established itself as one of the most well-respected ensemble music training programs in the country...[The program] provides a range of opportunities to study, perform, and rehearse in a context that balances structure with flexibility, guidance and independence, and discipline with inspiration." —Chamber Music America magazine

The New York Youth Symphony's Chamber Music Program (CMP) was founded in 1983 to foster the growth of musicians in an intimate setting. Over 2,000 students between the ages of 12-22 have participated in the CMP since its inception and it has become one of the most comprehensive training programs in the country for strings, winds, brass, and piano. The CMP combines high standards, immersion in contemporary and core repertoire, and performances at venues including Scandinavia House and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, with development of extra-musical skill sets such as public speaking, networking, and advocacy to ensure students' growth as both musicians and citizens. 

Under the direction of violinist Dr. Lisa Tipton, approximately 100 students each season participate in competitive auditions adjudicated by CMP faculty, and form ensembles including string quartets, piano trios, woodwind and brass quintets, and more. The ensembles choose their repertoire in consultation with their coach, rehearse independently, and receive regular coachings every other week. Bi-annual assessments monitor each ensemble's progress. Ensembles participate in master classes with world class musicians from Juilliard, Orion, Tokyo, Harlem and Shanghai quartets, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Sphinx, Windscape, NY Woodwind Quintet, and Orpheus, as well as many alumni, including Fred Sherry, Masumi Per Rostad, Tara O’Connor, and Linda Chesis. Master classes that are free and open to the public are held at locations including Tarisio Auctions, School for Strings, and the DiMenna Center.


Applications for the 2020/2021 season are now closed. Please check back in June 2021 for the 2021/2022 season application. Please visit the audition info page for more information on the audition process.

Director's Award for Commitment and Achievement

Each year, the Director recognizes individuals at the season's final concert for dedication to the Program and for musical advancement. The recipient of the 2019/2020 Director's Award was HaWK Trio, composed of:

  • Yunus Hokkaci, piano
  • Jonah Kernis, cello
  • Sanford Whatley, violin
  • Tomoko Fujita, coach


The Chamber Music Program's season will culminate in performances at Scandinavia House and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.


Each group performs at two jury assessments during the year. It is a great way to hear the other ensembles in the program, as well as get to know the other groups at a post-jury reception.


Instruction levels are incorporated within a two-tiered program: intermediate and advanced. Ensembles comprised of strings, winds, brass, guitar, harp, and piano meet weekly from October through April for individualized coaching sessions with a staff of outstanding professional musicians. The coaches for the 2020/2021 season include:

*on leave

Workshops & Masterclasses

Students enjoy special evenings of sight-reading with coaches, workshops, informal performances, and social time.

Participants in the Chamber Music Program have the opportunity to play for professional world class chamber players in masterclasses. Throughout the season, masterclasses are offered by members of the Juilliard, Orion, American, Harlem, and Shanghai quartets, Windscape, International Contemporary Ensemble, Sphinx, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. 

Masterclass guests for the 2020/2021 season include:

  • Rebecca Fischer, violin (The Afield, Chiara Quartet, Mannes School of Music)
  • Hsin-Yun Huang, viola (Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School)
  • Khari Joyner, cello (The Juilliard School)
  • Gilbert Kalish, piano (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center)
  • Ani Kavafianviolin (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Yale School of Music)
  • Dana Kelleyviola (Orpheus, Sphinx, Argus Quartet, The Knights)
  • Joel Krosnickcello (Juilliard Quartet)
  • Wolfram Koessel, cello (Manhattan School of Music, Aspen Music Festival)
  • Anne-Marie McDermottpiano (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Vail Music Festival, Angel Fire)
  • Anthony McGillclarinet (NY Philharmonic, The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Bard College)
  • Daniel Phillipsviolin (Orion Quartet, The Juilliard School, Bard College, Queens College)
  • Orli Shaham, piano (The Juilliard School, Columbia University, Orli Shaham's Bach Yard)
  • Fred Sherry, cello (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School)
  • Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe (Imani Winds)
  • Melissa White, violin (Harlem Quartet)
  • Amy Yang, piano (University of Pennsylvania, Curtis Institute of Music)

First Music World Premiere

A major highlight of the CMP is the opportunity to study contemporary music. The CMP is celebrating 28 years of commissioning new works from emerging, young composers. One ensemble is selected to perform the world premiere at the final performance at Weill Recital Hall each year. Past commission winners include Timo Andres, Derek Bermel, Amanda Harberg, Christopher Theofanidis, and Sean Shepherd. In addition, CMP ensembles collaborate with students in the NYYS Composition Program, performing their works at the Composition Date concert at Symphony Space.

Community Concerts

Chamber Music Program students perform for children and senior citizens at various facilities throughout the five boroughs of New York. This form of music education and exposure is vital to the future generations of students who do not receive arts education in their schools. Within the care facilities, music therapy can improve overall rehabilitation of the therapy recipients and increase their motivation to become engaged in their treatment, depending on the nature of the disability. This unique experience also enables our players to use their talents to make a difference in people’s lives.

Due to COVID-19, NYYS students will be participating in online community concerts only for the 2020/21 season.

2020/2021 Chamber Music Program Schedule

Click here to download the schedule.

Chamber Music Staff