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Musical Theater Songwriting


The New York Youth Symphony's Musical Theater Songwriting Program is specially designed to lead students between the ages of 12 to 22 through a range of musical theater songwriting processes. Whether their background is as a classical composer, singer-songwriter, performer, writer, or some cool hyphenate, this program will provide students with the opportunity to both study the fundamentals of musical theater songwriting and take artistic risks. Weekly sessions will feature seminars, workshops, and masterclasses with some of Broadway's most distinguished composers, writers, performers, musicians, producers, directors, and designers. Throughout the year, students will also have the unique opportunity to workshop new material with performers from the Harlem School of the Arts and New York Film Academy, as well as a Broadway pit band. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

  • The New York Youth Symphony will require all Students to be vaccinated with an FDA emergency use authorized vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) in order to participate in any of our programs during the 2021/22 season. 
  • Proof of completed vaccination must be uploaded within the 2021/22 season application.
  • The reason for our vaccination requirement is to protect the health and safety of our NYYS community to the fullest extent possible.  
  • The NYYS will continue to rely on the most up-to-date medical information available and governmental guidance to make informed decisions about our vaccination requirement.
  • Individuals may request religious or medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements which will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • Questions?  For more information, email info[at]nyys[dot]org.

Seminars and Performances

The Musical Theater Songwriting Program will meet weekly on Tuesdays between 5-8pm at The Harlem School of the Arts (Fall Semester) and the NewYork Youth Symphony offices (Spring Semester).

The 2021/22 season will feature guest lecturers including composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade, The Bridges of Madison County, Songs for a New World), composer/lyricist team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on this Island, Anastasia, Seussical), composer Helen Park (KPOP, Over The Moon), composer and orchestrator Jamshied Sharifi (The Band's Visit) director and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly (A Strange Loop, Lempicka), music director Meg Zervoulis (The Prom, Mean Girls, West Side Story), Dramaturg and Associate Artistic Director Natasha Sinha (Playwrights Horizons), and Dramaturg and Artistic Associate Anika Chapin (Goodspeed Musicals), and guest performers Christiani Pitts, (A Bronx Tale, King Kong), Eric William Morris (King Kong, Mamma Mia!), Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day), Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera).

Sharing of student works will take place throughout the year and culminate in a public performance at one of NYC's iconic cabaret venues, Joe's Pub. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the season, students in the Musical Theater Songwriting program will:

  • Learn how to develop musical theater stories and characters
  • Learn how to craft a musical theater song lyric
  • Develop music composition and arranging skills
  • Develop music publishing and music production skills
  • Practice collaboration with other young writers and performers
  • Practice giving and receiving constructive feedback
  • Develop confidence performing and presenting original work
  • Gain an exclusive window into the professional musical theater world
  • Discover how different musical theater artists have carved out a career for themselves
  • Become part of a creative, supportive, and inclusive community of young artists

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 August 15, 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.


Applications for the 2021/22 season are closed. Please check back in June 2022 for the 2022/2023 season application.

Please check the audition section of our website for eligibility and fee requirements, application information, and audition dates. Please apply by September 17, 2021, 5:00 PM (EST).

Musical Theater Songwriting Staff