The New York Youth Symphony’s Composition Program, offers student composers the opportunity to explore the world of composition and orchestration through seminars, individual tutorials, and workshops, plus reading sessions with professional musicians, and performances. Led by Director Dr. Kyle Blaha, the seminars explore the musical thought of a wide variety of composers, with a focus on instrumentation and orchestration. Examples are drawn from the vast classical repertoire and a range of musical traditions from throughout the world. Using tools such as study scores and orchestration books, the course aims to cultivate the students’ own voices through class discussion, written exercises, and free composition.
Distinguished composers visit sessions throughout the season, offering students an inside look at the creative process. Recent guests have included Angélica Negrón, Caroline Shaw, Du Yun, Gabriela Lena Frank, John Harbison, Julia Wolfe, Melinda Wagner, John Corigliano, Maria Schneider, Stephen Sondheim, Nico Muhly, and Michael Torke.
Special thanks to ASCAP, BMI, and NEA for their continued support of the Composition Program.
Each year, students compose new works for ensembles including string quartets, woodwind quintets, percussion trios, and more. Students then have opportunities to work directly with professional musicians to have these compositions workshopped, recorded, and performed. Past musicians have included Aizuri String Quartet, violinist David Fulmer, harpist Bridget Kibbey, violist Jessica Meyer, and more.
Orchestration Reading is an opportunity for students to compose original works for chamber orchestra, read by DECODA, performing side-by-side with the principal musicians of the NYYS Orchestra. Following the reading of each piece, conducted by NYYS Music Director Andrew J. Kim, students receive feedback from a mentor composer. Huang Ruo was the 2022 mentor composer.
The Composition Program generally meets weekly from October to May on Thursdays between 4:30-7:00pm at the NYYS Office, located at 110 West 40th Street, New York, NY. A full schedule of sessions will be available upon acceptance to the 2023/2024 Composition Program.
Students’ works are read and workshopped throughout the season, culminating in a final performance by members of the NYYS Orchestra, Chamber Music, Jazz, and Apprentice Conducting programs at the annual Composition Date concert in May 2024.
Applicants should review the guidelines on this page to make sure that they can fulfill the commitment to the program before applying.