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Apprenticeships Application

Since 2014, Carnegie Hall has offered apprenticeships to students in roles beyond instrumental positions in NYO-USA to explore key aspects of the orchestral field. For 2020, positions are available for an apprentice music librarian, an apprentice orchestra manager and two apprentice composers. Open to students ages 16–19 who meet the same eligibility requirements as prospective NYO-USA instrumentalists, these rare opportunities are ideal for musicians who are interested in the possibility of taking their musical experience in a new direction. Apprentices will work alongside NYO-USA’s artistic and administrative staff and gain direct experience in their respective craft. Apprentice composers will spend three weeks with NYO-USA at Purchase College, SUNY. The apprentices will additionally join the orchestra on tour to continue to support the production and operations of NYO-USA through concerts and additional activities. All apprentices are considered members of NYO-USA and 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.)

Apprenticeship Opportunities

Orchestra Library Apprentice

Orchestra librarians have the important role of preparing all of the music a symphony orchestra uses in rehearsal and performance. This includes researching available editions, ensuring the material is as accurate as possible and marked consistently for all players and conductors, and preparing parts so that bowings are in sync. NYO-USA’s orchestra library apprentice will receive first-hand experience working alongside NYO-USA’s principal orchestra librarian during the orchestra’s residency and tour. The apprentice will also 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 in order to introduce aspects of the field that are of special relevance.

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 orchestra 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.

Apprentice Composers

Two apprentice composers will be invited to join NYO-USA and to write, after their acceptance in early 2020, a short new work for the orchestra. One of the goals of the apprenticeship will be to give the composers experience with orchestration and writing for larger forces. These new pieces will be workshopped, rehearsed, and recorded during NYO-USA’s residency. Apprentice composers will have the opportunity to meet and learn from a number of guest composers during the residency, and to work on additional music with input from their peers in the orchestra.

Celebrated American composer Sean Shepherd, who wrote a new work (Magiya) for NYO-USA’s inaugural season in 2013, serves as the composition program director and mentor/coach to the apprentices. Shepherd has held composition fellowships with The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Reno Philharmonic. Shepherd has had a number of notable premieres with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, Paris’s Ensemble intercontemporain, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and FLUX Quartet at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Most recently, his piece Express Abstractionism, was premiered by its co-commissioners, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.


The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) invites young musicians ages 16–19 to audition for its 2020 season. All application materials must be submitted using an online form administered by Acceptd, a service that provides a digital audition platform to many performing arts schools and programs. In order to start the NYO-USA application, you will need to create an Acceptd account. (If you already have one, you can start a new application using your existing account.) Once you create an Acceptd account, 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 the required application videos to make certain they represent your playing as effectively as possible.

  • September 6, 2019: Application officially opens
  • January 4, 2020: Application deadline
  • January 18, 2020: Recommendation deadline
  • February 6, 2020: Applicants notified of status via email
  • July 2020: Program begins

Students may apply for one or all apprenticeships based on their interests and experience. If you are applying for the apprentice composer position in addition to the orchestra library and/or orchestra management apprenticeship(s), a separate application for the apprentice composer position is required. There is no fee to apply. If you are under the age of 18 at the time of your application, permission of a parent or guardian is needed.

Application Requirements

  • Video Essay: Please record an answer to one of the following questions. Please refer to our Video Guidelines for additional information and suggestions for effectively recording your video.
    • With which composer do you most identify and why?
    • What is a non-musical interest or activity that you are passionate about and why?
    • What is your favorite non-musical creative work (book, painting, poem, movie, etc.) and why does it speak to you?
  • Biographical Essay: In approximately 200–300 words, describe your background and musical/educational experience, including how participation in NYO-USA would help you achieve personal or artistic goals.
  • Recommendations: You will be asked to enter email addresses for two required references; a third is optional. Each reference will receive a link to an online recommendation form after you submit your completed application. Please note that this email will be sent directly from Acceptd. (not Carnegie Hall or NYO-USA). Your references will have until January 18, 2020 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.
  • Score Requirement (Composition Apprenticeship applicants only): Apprentice composer applicants are also required to submit two original scores (PDF files only) for any size ensemble. If possible, please include a piece that shows some experience with varied instrumentation/orchestration. You may also upload video and/or audio recordings of your music, if available; candidates will be judged on their written scores—there is no expectation that recordings will be submitted.


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 2020, this means your birthdate must be between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2004, without exception. Please note that if you are under 18 at the time that you apply, the consent of your parent or guardian is required.

Grade Level: Starting in 2020, participation in NYO-USA is limited to high school students within the age range above. You must be enrolled in high school or the equivalent level of homeschooling during the 2019–2020 academic year to be eligible for the 2020 NYO-USA program. Gap-year students who graduated from high school in 2019 (or earlier) are not eligible.

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

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

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NYO-USA Sponsor: United Airlines®, Official Airline of Carnegie Hall.

Major funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Carl Jacobs Foundation, and JMCMRJ Sorrell Foundation.

Additional funding has been provided by Sarah Arison, The Jack Benny Family Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, and Mary Anne Huntsman Morgan and The Huntsman Foundation.

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Public funding has been provided by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Blavatnik Family Foundation

Founder Patrons: Blavatnik Family Foundation; Nicola and Beatrice Bulgari; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation; Ronald O. Perelman; Robertson Foundation; Beatrice Santo Domingo; Hope and Robert F. Smith; Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon; and Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation.

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