Composition

Explore the World of Composition and Orchestration

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Composition Program

Composition Overview

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.

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.

Also, 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.

Composition Program

Schedule

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 2024/2025 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 From The Minds of Young Composers concert on Monday, May 19 2025 at National Sawdust.

Composition Program

Interviews

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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Composition Program

Composition Staff

  • NYYS keeps my composing spark going. It has been the most inspiring, grounding force, as well as a comfortable space where I could adjust my attention purely to music creation, learning, discussion, and collaboration.

    Haeon Lee

    Through NYYS Composition, I gained more expertise so that I can expand my practical toolbox when composing.

    Alex Robertson

    I really enjoyed working with all the musicians and it was a very informative experience. I learned a lot!

    Sophia Kunxu Dou

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