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Frequently Asked Questions

Who, What, When, Where, and How

What is NYO2?

NYO2 is a free summer program for orchestral players ages 14–17 created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. NYO2 has a particular focus on recruiting musicians from communities underrepresented in classical music. Participating musicians have the opportunity to work closely with top players from American orchestras and conservatories during a residency at Purchase College, SUNY, before NYO2’s performances. Since 2018, Carnegie Hall has partnered with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, where a week of rehearsals and a concert at the New World Center take place.

Who can participate in NYO2?

NYO2 is open to US citizens or full-time US residents of all backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from those who will bring greater diversity to classical orchestral music and those who have not had access to highly selective training opportunities through youth orchestra programs, summer festivals, camps, or similar experiences outside of their communities. You must be between the ages of 14 and 17 as of June 30 during the summer of your participation. For 2022, this means that your birthdate must be between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2008, without exception. Participation in NYO2 is limited to middle- and high-school students within this age range. You must be enrolled in middle school, high school, or the equivalent level of homeschooling during the 2021–2022 academic year to be eligible for the 2022 NYO2 program. Gap-year students who graduated from high school in 2021 (or earlier) are not eligible.

When will the program take place?

NYO2 is a summer program, scheduled each year for three to four weeks between early and late July. The 2022 program will take place in July with exact dates to be announced. Because of the intensive nature of the program, no absences for any part of this period are permitted.

Where does the NYO2 training residency take place?

NYO2 is in residence at Purchase College, SUNY. Located on 550 scenic acres in Westchester County 30 miles north of New York City, Purchase College has outstanding rehearsal and practice facilities—including a conservatory music building and a highly regarded, multi-venue performing arts center—where all full orchestral rehearsals take place leading up to the residency and concert at the New World Center. Musicians live in campus housing, and meals are provided by the College Dining Service.

Will NYO2 play at Carnegie Hall?

Yes, NYO2 will perform in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage to conclude the program.

How do I apply?

The audition and application process takes place online. Learn more about applying.

How will my application be evaluated?

In accordance with its mission, NYO2 includes a broad range of qualified participants from across the country to reflect the exceptional diversity of the US. Applications are reviewed based on a variety of factors, including the applicant’s technical ability, musicianship, passion, willingness to collaborate, intellectual curiosity, and social and emotional maturity.


Are there any exceptions to the age requirement?

We cannot make any exceptions to the age restrictions. You must be between the ages of 14 and 17, within the specified range of birth dates and grade levels, during the summer of your intended participation.

What are the residency requirements for NYO2?

Any US citizen—regardless of current place of residence—is eligible to apply for NYO2. Applications are also accepted from those who are living fulltime in the US as permanent residents (green card holders) or as dependent children of temporary workers who have been living continuously in the US for at least two years (typically H-1B visa holders). International students who are living in the US for school or other reasons are not eligible for NYO2.

Are there positions available for my instrument?

NYO2’s symphony orchestra is made up of approximately 80 musicians. Applicants can apply for positions on the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, percussion (including timpani), and harp. In certain years, based on repertoire, there may be positions for other instruments. The 2022 orchestra does not include a position for orchestral keyboard.

Can I apply for more than one instrument?

Yes, but a separate application is required for each instrument. Please note that auxiliary instruments such as piccolo, English horn, and bass clarinet do not require a separate application.

If eligible, can I apply to both NYO2 and NYO-USA?

Yes, as long as you were born between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2006, you can apply to both programs for 2022. You will need to apply to each program separately. Please refer to the application instructions for NYO-USA for more information.

Will I be able to participate in NYO2 more than once?

Yes, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements. Please note that all applicants are required to re-apply and submit a new audition video each year.

Application Process

Do I need to be nominated in order to apply to NYO2?

Yes. A formal nomination from a teacher; ensemble director; school, band, or orchestra administrator; or community leader is required as part of the application.

My solo is longer than three minutes. Is that okay?

While you can select a three-minute excerpt from a longer work or recorded performance, please keep your solo submission as close to the three-minute mark as possible. We receive many applications, and our review panel listens carefully to all auditions. It is not possible for the panel to listen to submissions considerably longer than the requested three minutes.

Can I put together two short pieces or highlights from a longer recording to make my three-minute solo submission?

We prefer that you submit one continuous recording.

Do both of my references need to be musicians?

No, but it is helpful if at least one of them is. While general music teachers, orchestra directors, or private instructors are all acceptable as musical references, an academic instructor or other non-music mentor can also serve as a reference.

Are we required to submit three references?

No, only two references are required. If you feel that another might add a different perspective to your application, you are welcome to include a third reference.

Can my nominator serve as a reference?

Yes, but we ask that they complete the separate recommendation form in addition to the nomination form.

My video recordings are not professional quality. Will this hurt my chances of being accepted into NYO2?

No. We understand that not everyone has the means to provide a professional video recording, and our goal is to make NYO2 accessible to all who wish to apply. As long as the applicant is clearly visible and audible, the audition will be judged on its musical merits and not on its production value. Most auditions have been recorded using basic home video equipment.

Can I send additional information about my musical or personal accomplishments after the application deadline?

We are unable to consider any supplemental application materials received after the application deadline.

Guest Artists and Faculty

Who conducts the NYO2 orchestra?

NYO2 has no permanent music director and is led by different, renowned conductors. In 2021 Mei -Ann Chen led the orchestra. In 2018 and 2019, Carlos Miguel Prieto—music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra—led the orchestra. In 2016 and 2017, NYO2 was conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, music director of the Nashville Symphony and former principal guest conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami Residency.

Who makes up the NYO2 faculty?

Musical preparation during NYO2’s residency will be overseen by a conducting staff led by NYO-USA orchestra director James Ross and resident conductor Joseph Young. Working with individual instrument sections will be a dream team of principal players from top American orchestras and professors from the finest conservatories and schools of music, who will coach sectional rehearsals, teach private lessons, coach chamber music, and share perspectives on their lives as professional musicians. The 2022 faculty will be announced early next year. Visit the NYO2 Guest Artists page to view the 2021 faculty.

What else can I expect as part of my NYO2 experience?

In addition to orchestra rehearsals and the opportunity to work closely with world-renowned faculty, NYO2 participants will have both musical and social opportunities with members of NYO-USA. Additional components of the program will be announced early next year.

Are there any costs or fees associated with NYO2?

NYO2 is a tuition-free program for all participants. The program provides room and board during the residency and covers all expenses related to instructional, rehearsal, performance, and other activities. There is no fee to apply. Financial aid is also available to help participants with the travel costs to and from the New York City area associated with participation in NYO2. Additional details will be available upon acceptance.

Lead Donors: Hope and Robert F. Smith, Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Kovner Foundation, and Beatrice Santo Domingo.

Global Ambassadors: Hope and Robert F. Smith, and Maggie and Richard Tsai.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Leadership support for NYO2 is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Major support for NYO2 is provided by Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, and Joyce and George Wein Foundation, Inc.

Founder Patron: Beatrice Santo Domingo.

Ernst & Young Logo

With additional funding provided by Ardian US Foundation, Sarah Arison, Ernst & Young LLP, and The Morton H. Meyerson Family Foundation.

National Endowment for the Arts: arts.gov

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

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