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  • New York String Orchestra Seminar

  • "It was one of the defining moments for me as a teenager. The passion of people your own age is very important; it puts you in touch with a larger world, beyond schooling and everything else you do."

    —Yo-Yo Ma, cellist, participant in the 1971 New York String Orchestra Seminar

    We have been working for the past few months to develop an online version of the seminar that will fulfill our mission of reaching a group of exceptional student musicians and introducing them to the seminar's philosophy through orchestral and chamber music experiences with some of the world's most celebrated artists. We plan to share our plans by August 14, 2020.

    We thank you for your patience and understanding — and for the words of those of you who have reached out to express concern or optimism and to share what the seminar has meant to you personally.

    2020 Application Period: TBA

    Note: Applications and recordings are reviewed on a rolling basis, and spaces at some live audition locations may be filled before the final application deadline. We recommend applying no later than September 20 to avoid being placed on a waiting list for the required live audition.

    You can access an application for the 2020 seminar beginning August 2, 2020, by clicking the red Apply button to the right. We recommend that you read all of the audition and application information available through the menu list on the right before you begin your application. 

    The New York String Orchestra Seminar application and audition is a two-step process.

    1. Submit your application, recorded audition (application and recorded audition repertoire information are available here), and application fee by the October 1, 2020, deadline.

    2. Applicants will receive notification by October 10 if they have been scheduled for a live audition. With the exception of timpanists, only those who have a live audition can be considered for the program. Repertoire excerpt requirements for the live audition differ from those for the recorded audition. 

    The New York String Orchestra Seminar is a highly selective training program for advanced 16- to 23-year-old orchestral music students. The seminar is a tuition-free program, ensuring that all participants are selected on the basis of talent and technical ability as displayed in the live audition rather than personal financial means. All education, housing, meal, and local transportation costs are provided for by the seminar. Invited participants pay only their way to and from New York City.

    Invited students come to New York City for ten days in December and:

    • Prepare for two concerts presented by Carnegie Hall, on December 24 at 7:00 p.m. and December 28 at 8:00 p.m.
    • Take part in intensive daily orchestra rehearsals with conductor Jaime Laredo and the soloists, violinist Pamela Frank and pianist Jonathan Biss
    • Attend chamber music workshops with some of the nation's most celebrated artists
    • Receive an introduction to a musical philosophy that highlights self-expression beyond technical mastery and emphasizes that each person in the orchestra is an essential voice and member the way they would be in a small chamber ensemble. Conductor Laredo quotes George Szell as saying that "a great orchestra plays like a great string quartet."

    All accepted students must commit to being present from 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 19, through 11:00 p.m. Monday, December 28, 2020. No exceptions can be made.

    All participants are required to stay in the housing provided by the New York String Orchestra Seminar: four-person suites at the Wellington Hotel, located one block from Carnegie Hall.

    History of the Seminar

    Arts administrator and artist manager Frank Salomon created the seminar in 1969 for Alexander Schneider, one of the most important musical figures of the 20th century. Schneider was deeply committed to young artists and was an inspiration to generations of musicians. He believed that music has to "come from your heart and your soul, or it has no meaning." The New York String Orchestra Seminar was designed to offer professional training to gifted string, wind, brass, and timpani students who have reached a formative point in the development of their musical understanding and professional goals.

    Acclaimed conductor, soloist, and chamber musician Jaime Laredo, Schneider's personal choice as successor, has led the orchestra since 1993. Laredo has introduced some of the country's most gifted young musicians to new musical ideas, offering them chamber music coaching from members of the world's top ensembles and giving them the challenge of performing at a professional level onstage at Carnegie Hall.

    The seminar's more than 2,400 alumni are found in every state of the country. We are proud to include conductors and soloists such as Marin Alsop, Pamela Frank, Karina Canellakis, Cho-Liang Lin, Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Oundjian, Gil Shaham, and Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg; chamber musicians in groups as diverse as Brooklyn Rider, the Silkroad Ensemble, and the Dover, Emerson, Kronos, Orion, and Takacs string quartets; and concertmasters and principals in every major U.S. orchestra, including the concertmasters of the Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia orchestras and the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics. We are equally proud of the many alumni who are contributing to the musical lives of young people on the faculties of major conservatories and in the classrooms of public schools.

    Our Supporters

    The New York String Orchestra Seminar is made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the support of the Alexander Schneider Foundation, a grant from the Colburn Foundation, and support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

  • Make a Donation

  • Contact Us

    Rohana Elias-Reyes, Director
    New School Concerts
    55 West 13th Street, room 929
    New York, NY 10011
    Phone: 212.229.5873
    Fax: 212.229.5306

  • Upcoming Concerts

    Monday, December 24, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.

    Friday, December 28, 2018, at 8:00 p.m.

    Tickets are available for purchase through the links above or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.274.7800.

  • Take The Next Step

Submit your application


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Undergraduate Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.


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