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Composition Program Guidelines


The New York Youth Symphony’s Composition Program is the first series of workshops in the country for young musicians to explore the world of composition and orchestration, providing emerging young composers with invaluable practical experience. Participants will have the opportunity to develop their techniques and individual musical voices in three distinct ways: through experience working directly with performers, in presentations by distinguished professional musicians in various positions within the musical world, and through interactive sessions that delve deeply into masterworks from the past and present.

Each student will have the chance to compose new works for reading sessions and for the final concert, getting feedback from professional musicians, program directors, and their student colleagues as they bring their compositions to life. The guest lecturers present their own work as performers, conductors, composers, critics and scholars, exposing students to new ideas as well as providing the opportunity for an invaluable dialogue. Finally, the lecture sessions explore the musical thought of a wide variety of composers, covering instrumentation, orchestration, formal analysis and aesthetics. 

Students will be invited to write works for one of the reading sessions listed below to be performed in a workshop setting. In addition, all composers will create a work for the program finale concert, Composition Date 2016 on May 12 at Symphony Space.

Reading Sessions

Reading sessions are opportunities for students to have their compositions read by established musicians and for the composers to work with the musicians to make changes to the piece based on their feedback. Guidelines for the reading sessions, including due date of submission, will be provided by the Composition Program administration and will be strictly enforced.

Orchestra Reading Session

The Orchestra Reading Session is a unique reading workshop where four student composers compose a short work for chamber orchestra, which is then performed by professional musicians from Decoda (, a group comprised of alumni of the Carnegie Academy, alongside the principal musicians of the NYYS Orchestra.This season's orchestra reading session is scheduled for Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Composition Date 2019

The Composition Program culminates in the annual Composition Date concert where original student compositions are performed by members of the New York Youth Symphony’s Orchestra, Chamber Music, Jazz, and Apprentice Conducting programs. Students will be guided toward this goal by the Composition Program directors in small group tutorials. Guidelines for Composition Date 2019, including due date of submitting your score and parts, will be provided by the administration and will be strictly enforced. Attendance at the May 16 Composition Date 2019 dress rehearsal and concert is mandatory. Students should plan on arriving by 4:00pm for the dress rehearsal.


Composers are required to attend three scheduled rehearsals (one workshop and two rehearsals) for their Composition Date 2016 piece. Student composers are expected to be prepared with the appropriate materials for each rehearsal. See schedule for rehearsal dates. In addition, composers should be available to work with the ensembles performing their compositions prior to the rehearsals if necessary.

Attendance Policy

All scheduled events start promptly at the time indicated on the schedule. Students are asked to arrive at least 5 minutes before the scheduled start time so all sessions can begin on time.
Students are allow two excused absences during the year. All absences must be communicated to the Composition Assistant Director via email at In the case of anticipated absences students must notify the program at least one week in advance, although we request that you communicate known scheduling conflicts at the beginning of the season. Students must contact the program via email within 24 hours of any unscheduled absence in order to confirm their continued participation in the program.

Missed Deadlines & Sessions

Deadlines for due dates must be met for students to have their compositions performed at reading sessions or the final Composition Date concert. These are assigned early in the season and if there is a conflict it must be communicated to the Director immediately. BMI tutorials cannot be rescheduled if missed and will count as an absence. If a student misses a deadline for or is absent from a reading session, the piece will only be performed at the discretion of the administration.

Director's Award for Commitment and Achievement

Each year the Director recognizes a musician at the season’s final performance for his or her dedication and advancement to the program.

2017/18 Director’s Award Recipient
Sungwoo Kim