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, Jasper, Aizuri, American, Imani Winds, 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.
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.
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
Chamber Music America magazine
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 2022/2023 Director’s Award was Andromeda, composed of:
Chamber Music students perform throughout the community and renowned venues like 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.
The program offers 15 masterclasses per season with acclaimed musicians including members of the Juilliard, Orion, Jasper, Aizuri, American, Imani Winds, Harlem and Shanghai quartets, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Sphinx, Windscape, NY Woodwind Quintet, and Orpheus, as well as many others.
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. Recent coaches for the Chamber Music program have included:
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.
Recent masterclass guests for the Chamber Music program have included:
A major highlight of the CMP is the opportunity to study contemporary music. Each season, one ensemble is selected to perform the world premiere of a piece by a young American composer commissioned through the NYYS First Music program. 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. See the First Music page for more information.
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.
Applicants should review the guidelines on this page to make sure that they can fulfill the commitment to the program before applying.
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