• Application Process

    The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America invites young musicians (ages 16–19) to audition for its 2015 season. All application materials must be submitted using an online form, administered by Decision Desk, a service that provides a digital audition platform to many performing arts schools and programs. The application for 2015 will be available August 4, 2014. Once you create your account with Decision Desk, you will be able to start the NYO-USA application and save your progress at any point. If this is your first experience with an online digital audition service, we encourage you to allow enough time to upload and review your videos so they represent your playing as effectively as possible.

    Timeline

    • April 4: Audition excerpts for the 2015 season are available to download here
    • August 4: Application opens
    • November 5: Application deadline (at 11:59 PM in your respective time zone)
    • December 1: Recommendation deadline
    • February 6: Applicants are notified of their status; audition feedback is provided shortly thereafter
    • June 27, 2015: Program begins
    • July 28, 2015: Program ends

    Instrumentation

    NYO-USA is accepting applications for the 2015 season on all standard orchestral instruments, as well as harp.

    Application Fee

    There is a $30 application fee, payable online via major credit card at the time you fully complete and submit your application. To apply for a fee waiver on the basis of financial need, please e-mail a completed fee-waiver application to nyo-usa@carnegiehall.org before you submit your application. Upon approval, we will provide you with a promo code to be entered during the payment step of your application on Decision Desk. Fee waiver requests must be received no later than October 20.

    Application Requirements

    • Audition Videos (details below)
    • Biographical Essay: Approximately 200–300 words that describe your background and musical/educational experience and addresses how participation in NYO-USA would help you achieve personal or artistic goals
    • 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 December 1 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.

    Audition Video

    All applicants to NYO-USA are required to record a series of audition videos that include 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.

    Required video segments:
    • Introduction: Before performing your solo selection, please include an introduction stating your name, your instrument, 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.
    • Excerpts: One video per work of the required orchestral excerpts for your instrument, music for which will be provided by NYO-USA and available to download here. Wind players wishing to demonstrate proficiency on an auxiliary instrument should include the relevant excerpt, which is optional. Please note that if there are two excerpts from the same movement, we prefer that they be uploaded as one video segment.
    • Personal Question:  Please record an answer to one of the following.

      Who inspires you musically and why?
         OR
      How would you describe your instrument's personality?
         OR
      Describe your most memorable musical experience.

    Eligibility

    Citizenship

    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
  • Additional Opportunities

    Apprenticeships >

    Assistant Conductor >

  • National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America Lead Sponsor


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

    Lead Donors: Ronald O. Perelman and Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation.

    Additional funding has been provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation; Yoko Nagae Ceschina; The Rockefeller Foundation; The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation; and Ann Ziff.

    Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • More Information

    Frequently Asked Questions