Application Information

  • Application to the 2018 New York String Orchestra Seminar is a two-step process:

    1. Submission of application, $25 application fee, and recorded audition (audio recording, mp3 files only) by the deadline, Thursday, October 3, 2018. The recorded audition repertoire is found at the bottom of this page. The online application is available here beginning August 15, 2018.
    2. If you pass the recorded audition, you will be scheduled for a live audition between October 23 and November 4 on the basis of the date and location you selected in your application. (See available dates and locations below.) The live audition repertoire is not the same as the recorded audition repertoire, and is not needed to submit an application. It will be available here after August 15, 2018.

    The 2018 live audition repertoire will include excerpts from the 2018 seminar repertoire: Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture; Vivaldi's Concerto for 4 Violins in B Minor, Op. 3, No. 10; Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4; George Walker's Lyric for Strings; Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1; and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique). Excerpt information and downloads will be available after August 15, 2018. We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the entire works so that you understand the excerpts in context.

    Twenty-four violinists, ten violists, eight cellists, five bassists, two flutists, two oboists, two clarinetists, two bassoonists, four horn players, two trumpet players, and one timpanist will be invited to the 2018 New York String Orchestra Seminar.

    There is no participation fee for those accepted to the program. Every accepted student receives free tuition, housing, meals, and local transportation (total value more than $3,750). Participants pay only their travel costs to and from New York City.

    Note: All accepted students must stay in the housing provided by the New York String Orchestra Seminar and must be present for all rehearsals, sectionals, and chamber music sessions, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 19, through Friday, December 28, 2018. December 25 is the only full day off from the program. No exceptions can be made.

    Application and Deadline Information

    Applications and audition audio files must be received by October 3, 2018.

    Live auditions will take place between October 23 and November 4. All applicants will be notified by email of the live audition result by November 12.

    The seminar will take place December 19-28, 2018.


    • You are at least 16 and no older than 23 years of age at the time of the seminar (December 19, 2018).
    • You are a technically proficient musician with experience playing in an ensemble or orchestra.
    • You have not participated more than once before in the New York String Orchestra Seminar.

    Terms of Auditions

    • To be considered for admission, you must pass both a recorded and a live audition. Repertoire requirements for live auditions differ from requirements for recorded auditions.
    • You must pass the recorded audition before you will be scheduled for a live audition. (NOTE: Previous participants and designated alternates are exempted from the recorded audition. If you are unsure whether this applies to you, call the office at 212.229.5873.) Please note: The recorded audition is not simply a pre-screening. It is your first audition. Please prepare with as much care as you would for a live audition.
    • Those who pass the recorded audition will be contacted to confirm a live audition time. You must pass a live audition to be considered for participation; there are no exceptions.

    Recorded Audition Repertoire

    • Your application recording must be between 10 and 15 minutes long and submitted in mp3 format only (no other audio formats or videos accepted).
    • You may submit your required works in separate mp3 files or as one continuous file.
    • Accompaniment is not required, but is allowed.
    • Depending on the length of the works you select, you may opt to play movements rather than entire works, or even an excerpted section of a movement.

    Remember, the live audition repertoire is different from the recorded audition repertoire. We strongly recommend that you begin preparing your live audition as soon as you have submitted your application and recorded audition.

    Required Recorded Audition Repertoire

    Violin, Viola, and Cello Players*

    • Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, first page of the scherzo (Violin: beginning - 7 measures after Letter D; Viola and Cello: beginning - to Letter D)
    • Two contrasting works of your choice (please make sure the works contrast both in tempo and in style)

    Bass Players*

    • Beethoven: Symphony No. 5: Trio from the scherzo (3rd movement), pick up to m. 141 - m. 218
    • Mozart: Symphony No. 39
      • 1st movement: pick up to m. 41 - m. 97
      • 2nd movement: m. 40 - m. 50
    • One movement of a solo Bach work of your choice

    Flute Players*

    • Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, scherzo (solo at the end)
    • A work by Bach of your choice
    • A contrasting work of your choice

    Oboe Players*

    • Brahms: Violin Concerto, second movement solo
    • Rossini: La scala di seta overture, Andantino solo (m. 5 - No. 1); Allegro solo (pickup to No. 2 to No. 3)
    • A work by Bach of your choice
    • A contrasting solo work of your choice

    Clarinet Players*

    • Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, scherzo (Clarinet I, first page)
    • Mozart: Clarinet Concerto. Play the exposition of the first movement and  second movement beginning - m. 54.
    • Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, first movement solo
    • A contrasting solo work of your choice

    Bassoon Players*

    • Mozart:The Marriage of Figaro, overture, m. 139-171
    • A movement from a concerto or sonata of your choice
    • A contrasting movement; may be from a concerto, sonata, or work for bassoon alone (étude) of your choice

    Horn Players*

    • Choose either Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 2 or Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4. Play the exposition of the first movement.
    • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 - second movement solo
    • Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel opening calls

    Trumpet Players

    • Haydn: Trumpet Concerto, first movement, exposition and development
    • Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition, opening
    • Stravinsky: Petrouchka, ballerina solo
    • Mahler: Symphony No. 5, opening
    • Respighi: Pines of Rome, offstage solo

    *A movement of a work is acceptable if the work is lengthy.

    Note to timpanists: You are the only players who do not audition live. Therefore, you should take particular care with your recorded audition, which must be played in order unedited.

    2018 excerpts to be played in the order listed, unedited, without stopping the recording between pieces:

    • Mozart: Symphony No. 39, first movement, introduction (minimize bars of rest)
    • Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, third movement, Letter P for 13 bars (bar 191-203)
    • Martin: Concerto for 7 Winds, Strings and Percussion, third movement, solo passage
    • Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, fourth movement
    • Sibelius: Symphony No. 7, 6th bar of G to 1 before Letter I (omit the 6 bars rest at H and do the retuning in the 4 bars rest before H) and 14 before Q to Q, then 13 after T to 6th bar of U 
    • Sibelius: Finlandia, six before Letter F through Letter I, with no repeat at Letter H

    Live Audition Repertoire Requirements

    Applicants who pass the recorded audition will receive an invitation and instructions for a live audition. We strongly encourage an early application submission, as the audition time slots are often filled before the final deadline. Only applicants who audition in person are considered for participation in the seminar.

    Repertoire requirements for live auditions differ from requirements for recorded auditions. The New York String Orchestra Seminar is an orchestral program. The deciding factor in selection of participants in the program is often the care taken in preparing the orchestral excerpts for the live audition. We strongly recommend that you begin practicing as early as possible rather than waiting to receive your scheduled audition time.

    2018 Live Audition Tour Dates and Locations

    • Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - Los Angeles, CA (winds, brass, and strings)
    • Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - Houston, TX (winds, brass, and strings)
    • Thursday, October 25, 2018 - Boston, MA (strings only)
    • Friday, October 26, 2018 - New York City, NY (winds only)
    • Saturday, October 27, 2018 - New York City, NY (brass only)
    • Sunday, October 28, 2018 - New York City, NY (strings only)
    • Monday, October 29, 2018 - Chicago, IL (winds, brass, and strings)
    • Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Cleveland, OH (winds and brass)
    • Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Cleveland, OH (strings only)
    • Saturday, November 3, 2018 - New York City, NY (strings only)
    • Sunday, November 4, 2018 - New York City, NY (strings only)