• Application Process

    Orchestra | Apprenticeships | Assistant Conductor


    As part of an expansion of the role of young musicians in NYO-USA that began in 2014, Carnegie Hall is pleased to offer apprenticeships to students to explore key elements of orchestral experience, within the broader educational and cultural-exchange context of the program. For 2015, three positions are available for an orchestra library apprentice, an orchestra management, and a newly added conducting apprentice.

    Open to students ages 16–19 who meet the same eligibility requirements as prospective NYO-USA instrumentalists, these positions are ideal for musicians who are interested in the possibility of taking their musical experience in a new direction. Apprentices will work alongside Carnegie Hall administrative staff and NYO-USA faculty and music directors to learn about key functions that support the artistic and operational goals of symphony orchestras. Apprentices will participate for the duration of the NYO-USA residency and tour (June 27–July 28) and will be considered members of NYO-USA. They will share in all accommodation, meal, and travel arrangements with their fellow musicians. Apprenticeships are tuition- and expense-free, with the exception of the cost of the student’s travel to/from the New York City area at the start of the program and at the conclusion of the tour. (Financial aid is available for this travel expense to applicants demonstrating substantial financial need.)

  • Orchestra Library Apprentice

    Orchestra librarians have the important role of preparing all of the music a symphony orchestra uses in rehearsal and performance—researching available editions, ensuring the material is as accurate as possible and marked consistently for all players and conductors, and preparing parts so that the bowings are in sync, to mention just a few key responsibilities. NYO-USA’s orchestra library apprentice will receive first-hand experience working alongside Paul Beck, NYO-USA's principal orchestra librarian, during the orchestra’s residency and tour. The apprentice also will explore this little-known profession through meetings and conversations arranged by NYO-USA with leaders in the field. The interest and background of the apprentice will help shape the experience offer to the apprentice, in order to introduce aspects of the field that are of special relevance. Mr. Beck is currently the principal orchestra librarian at The Juilliard School and has also worked with the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and Mostly Mozart Festival. In addition, he is concert librarian for Renée Fleming, for whom he prepares orchestral parts used throughout the world.

    The successful candidate for this apprenticeship will have a strong interest in printed music, the ability to read full scores, and strong organizational skills and attention to detail.

  • Orchestra Management Apprentice

    This apprenticeship is an opportunity to work alongside NYO-USA's orchestra personnel manager and other artistic and administrative staff to learn about the planning and execution of an orchestra’s activities in rehearsals and the successful presentation of concerts. Orchestra personnel managers are musicians who serve as the key liaison between and among conductors, players, and other administrative personnel. The apprentice will assist with seating assignments and rotation, rehearsal orders and timings, backstage logistics, and preparation of venues for rehearsals and concerts. He or she will also have a window into the larger planning of an orchestral tour, particularly from the perspective of ensuring that the artistic needs of the musicians are addressed as fully as possible.

    The successful candidate will have experience as a member of instrumental ensembles, a general familiarity with orchestral music, and excellent communication and organizational abilities.

  • Conducting Apprentice

    A new position for NYO-USA’s 2015 season, the conducting apprentice will have a unique opportunity to receive mentoring in orchestral conducting from NYO-USA’s music staff, including Orchestra Director James Ross, and the 2015 Assistant Conductor. S/he will attend all orchestra rehearsals during the Residency and tour with Charles Dutoit, as well as observe sectional rehearsals and faculty coaching. Some aspects of the apprenticeship may be tailored to the musical background of the student chosen, but it is expected that score study sessions and very limited podium time will be offered. The conducting apprentice is also expected to have a role in understanding and supporting orchestra operations for NYO-USA and may be asked to assist the Music Library staff or the management team with relevant administrative functions.

    Candidates are not expected to have orchestral conducting experience but should be able to demonstrate substantial instrumental experience and strong musicianship, as well as leadership potential. After reviewing audition submissions, James Ross and NYO-USA staff may conduct interviews via Skype prior to making a final selection.

  • Timeline

    • November 10, 2014: Application opens
    • January 16, 2015: Application deadline (at 11:59 PM in your respective time zone)
    • January 23, 2015: Recommendation deadline
    • February 6, 2015: Applicants are notified of their status
    • September 2015: Application requirements and audition excerpts for NYO-USA 2016 Apprentices will be announced.

    How to Apply


    Students may apply for one or all apprenticeships based on their interests and experience. If you are applying for the Apprentice Conductor position in addition to the Orchestra Library and/or Orchestra Management Apprenticeship(s), a separate application for the Apprentice Conductor position is required. There is no fee to apply, and a short application form must be completed online by January 16, 2015. If you are under the age of 18 at the time of your application, permission of a parent or guardian is needed.

    • Biographical Essay

      Approximately 400-500 words, this essay should describe your musical background and interest in the apprenticeship(s).

    • Recommendations

      You will be asked to enter e-mail addresses for your recommenders—two are required, a third is optional. They will receive a link to an online recommendation form after you submit your completed application. Please note that this e-mail will be sent directly from Decision Desk (not Carnegie Hall or NYO-USA). Your references will have until January 23 to complete and submit their confidential recommendations. References who can address both your personal and musical qualities, such as your music teacher(s) and/or ensemble conductor(s), are preferred. While one music reference is required, your second reference can be academic or non-music related.

    • Audition Video

      Orchestra Library and Management Apprenticeships

      • Please record an answer to one of the following:

        1) What composer do you most identify with, and why?
        2) Describe your most memorable musical experience.

      Conducting Apprenticeship

      • Conducting apprentice applicants to NYO-USA are required to record a series of audition videos, similar to that of instrumental applicants, with the content outlined below. Each performance segment must be recorded in one take with no editing (though you may select the best of several takes). Professional equipment and/or studio space is not necessary for a successful application to NYO-USA. With attention to a few details, your music making can be conveyed using readily available consumer electronics. Please refer to our Video Guidelines for additional information and suggestions for effectively recording your audition.
      • Introduction
        Before performing your solo selection on your primary instrument, please include an introduction stating your name, your hometown, and the title of the solo work you have chosen.

      • Solo Piece
        The solo may be any work of your choice, or a movement/section of a longer work, provided it is approximately three minutes in duration. If the piece is longer than 3 minutes, you may record an excerpt or submit an unedited three-minute section from a longer recording. You may also use a recent solo recording if it meets the NYO-USA audition requirements, but please record and upload the spoken introduction separately. A work with piano accompaniment (except if you are applying on harp or percussion) is strongly preferred.

      • Instrumental excerpts
        One video per work of the required orchestral excerpts for your primary instrument, based on the 2015 NYO-USA instrumentalist requirements which are available to download here. Pianists should use the 2014 keyboard excerpts. Please note that if there are two excerpts from the same movement, we prefer that they be uploaded as one video segment.

      • Conducting example
        Please recording yourself conducting and singing, simultaneously, the opening of three movements from the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique (Mvt. 1 Bars 1-16, Mvt. 2 Bars 1-37, and Mvt. 4 Bars 1-24) The relevant pages of the score may be downloaded here. This should be recorded without any accompaniment (i.e. with no pianist or recording, just you conducting and singing).

      • Optional
        If you have a video of yourself conducting a live group of musicians, please include a 3-minute excerpt of what you consider your best conducting.

      • Video essay
        Please answer the following two questions in a video statement:

        • How is a conductor different from and/or similar to the members of the orchestra she/he leads?"
        • Imagine yourself as a 30-year-old professional and respond to the question "How did your musical experiences during your high school years lead to your being the successful musician you are today?"
  • Apprenticeship Eligibility


    NYO-USA is open to US citizens or permanent residents (Green Card holders) from all backgrounds.

    Age Limit

    You must be between the ages of 16 and 19 during the summer of your participation. For 2015, this means your birthdate must be between July 1, 1995, and June 30, 1999, without exception. Please note that if you are under 18 at the time you apply, the consent of your parent or guardian is required.

    Music Study

    If you are enrolled full-time in a college-level conservatory or music department with instrumental performance as your major (or intended field of study), you are not eligible to join NYO-USA. There are no other educational or performance requirements for NYO-USA eligibility. Please see specific examples below:

    You are not considered a full-time music student if you

    • study part-time at or take lessons through the pre-college or preparatory division of a music school or conservatory
    • are enrolled in a performing arts high school, regardless of your course of study
    • are enrolled in a college, university, or conservatory degree program in a field outside of instrumental performance (including all non-music majors, voice, music education, composition, musicology, etc.)
    • have been accepted by and plan to enroll in a college, university, or conservatory instrumental performance program, but will not begin full-time studies until after July 2015

    You are considered a full-time music student if

    • you are enrolled (or will be prior to June 2015) in a college, university, or conservatory music-degree program, with instrumental performance as your major or intended field of study if you have not yet declared a major (including double majors with an instrumental performance specialization)
    • regardless of your age, you are enrolled (or will be prior to June 2015) as a full-time student in a non-degree conservatory or music school diploma program beyond the preparatory level, with instrumental performance as your primary field of study
  • National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America Founding Sponsor:

    Bloomberg Philanthropies (June 17, 2015)

    Founder Patrons: Blavatnik Family Foundation; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Ronald O. Perelman; Robertson Foundation; Robert F. Smith; Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon; and Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation.

    Major Tour Sponsors: Sir David Tang; Wailian Overseas Consulting Group, Limited; and PwC

    Wailian and PwC (June 17, 2015)

    Additional funding has been provided by the Jack Benny Family Foundation for Music Education; and Andrew and Margaret Paul.

  • More Information

    Frequently Asked Questions