Skip to main content

Orchestra Guidelines


The New York Youth Symphony is unique among youth orchestras. With its sophisticated programming, performances in one of the world’s greatest concert halls, superb musical leadership, new works commissioned from the nation’s brightest young composers, and professional-level attitude, it is indeed something special.

Thanks to your commitment and dedication and your understanding of the organization’s purpose, objectives, and importance, this special quality continues to flourish. In order to maintain the high level of quality for which the orchestra is known, we are sharing our expectations for members of the orchestra for the season. In this handbook you will find the dates of rehearsals and performances for the season as well as the guidelines for participating in the program. Please contact your Orchestra Manager ( or the administrative staff at the NYYS office ( with any questions you may have about the guidelines or requirements of the program.

Attendance Guidelines

When joining the program, we ask that students make a commitment to the program and its rehearsal schedule and avoid scheduling other activities during the scheduled orchestra rehearsals and performances. Attending rehearsals strengthens the group as an ensemble and enhances the student’s experience. Although we expect students to commit to attending every rehearsal, we know that there are conflicts that are unavoidable. Students are allowed a maximum of two excused absences during each concert cycle, up to a total of five absences for the season. Please note that there are mandatory rehearsals and performances for each concert cycle. Mandatory dates are noted in the program calendar. Absences from mandatory events will result in dismissal from the concert and/or program, with the possible exception of a death in the family or a serious medical emergency.

Rehearsals start promptly at the time indicated on the schedule. Musicians should be fully warmed up and in their seats 15 minutes prior to the start of rehearsal. Rehearsals are closed to the public, unless you are notifi ed otherwise by the Orchestra Manager. Partial absences will be deducted as follows: Late arrival or early departure up to 15 minutes: ¼ absence Late arrival or early departure up to 30 minutes: ½ absence More than 30 minutes missed of rehearsal: Full absence Please be aware that parking may be difficult around concert and rehearsal venues and you should plan your time accordingly. 

Communication / Absences

Due to the large number of musicians in the orchestra, we ask that all communication to the Orchestra Manager be via email at Please do not phone or text your absence information as we need to have a record of the absence. All absences must be communicated to the Orchestra Manager whether planned or unexpected.

In case of anticipated absence, musicians are expected to notify the Orchestra Manager via email at least one week in advance of any expected absence, but are encouraged to do so as early as possible so a suitable substitute can be found and the rehearsal schedule can be adjusted accordingly.

Musicians must contact via email the Orchestra Manager within 24 hours following any unscheduled absence in order to confirm future participation in the program. The complete schedule for the 2018/19 season is listed in the handbook so we encourage you to look ahead and communicate any conflicts you have to the Orchestra Manager via email as soon as possible. We are only able to work with you on a solution to scheduling conflicts if we know in advance.

Concert Attendance

Absence from a concert, whether at the Ansche Chesed or Carnegie Hall, will result in dismissal from the orchestra. Lateness to a concert may result in reseating. In addition, one full absence will be applied to the next concert cycle.

Concert Attire

Performance dress is formal black attire. Men must wear collared black shirts, black pants, and black jackets. Women may wear black pants or long skirts with blouses, or black dresses. All students must wear black socks or stockings and black shoes. If you have any questions about the dress code, please ask the Orchestra Manager. Students not dressed according to these guidelines will not be allowed to perform.


You will receive one set of practice parts for each concert cycle. The parts will also be uploaded to Dropbox for download. Only one set of practice parts will be printed for each student, so if you lose the parts please download them from Dropbox. Performance parts are used in rehearsals and concerts and must remain in the performance folders at all times. Each player is responsible for his/her performance parts and must cover the costs for any missing parts, estimated at $10. All questions regarding parts should be addressed to the Librarian.

Kickoff Weekend

During the Kickoff Weekend retreat held September 21-23 at Camp DeWolfe in Wading River, NY, musicians will participate in intensive rehearsals and sectionals. Social activities will be held throughout the weekend and are a great way to meet members of the orchestra. You will receive details about Kickoff Weekend separately.
Attendance is mandatory and absences will count towards the first concert cycle. The Orchestra Manager must be notified in advance if you are not going to be able to attend a rehearsal or sectional during Kickoff Weekend.
Profanity, alcohol (regardless of age), illicit drugs, tobacco products, and disruptive behavior will not be tolerated during New York Youth Symphony events, including the Kickoff. Violators of this policy are subject to immediate dismissal.


Fellowships are awarded to select principal players in the string, wind, brass, and percussion sections at the discretion of the Music Director. Fellows serve in special leadership roles in the orchestra and have additional requirements during the season, including performing on the Composition Program’s Orchestra Reading March 11 and Composition Date 2017 on May 10.

The Dimenna Center For Classical Music

The majority of rehearsals and sectionals will be held at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, located at 450 West 37th Street, New York, NY. Musicians should arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before rehearsal and should go directly to their designated rehearsal location. Practicing in rooms other than those designated is strictly prohibited. Please note that parking in the area around The DiMenna Center may be difficult and there may be heavy traffic due to the proximity to the Lincoln Tunnel and the Javits Center, so please plan your travel time accordingly. Being late to rehearsal due to traffic or not being able to secure parking is not an acceptable reason for lateness. Pricing of parking lots in the area also fluctuates according to Javits Center events so parents bringing their students to rehearsal should consider dropping off their student and parking in another neighborhood with more affordable or free parking. In addition, discounted parking vouchers may be available online. 

Concert Schedule & Repertoire

Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 2 PM

Borodin: Polovtsian Dances

Natalie Dietterich: light, beloved with Jiji, guitar (First Music world première)

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 2 PM

Coleridge-Taylor: Ballade in A minor

Korngold:  Violin Concerto with Tai Murray, violin

Theo Chandler: Electric Agitation Fanfare (First Music world première)

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “New World”

Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 2 PM

Ryan Lindveit: Close Up at a Distance (First Music commissioned world première)

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor with Fei-Fei, piano

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Related PDFs: