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NYO Jazz Application Information

NYO Jazz invites young musicians (ages 16–19) to audition for its 2021 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 Jazz 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 have created an Acceptd account, you will be able to save your progress at any time. 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.

Timeline

  • June 1, 2020: Audition selections posted for 2021 program
  • September 10, 2020: Application officially opens
  • January 21, 2021: Application deadline
  • February 5, 2021: Recommendation deadline
  • March 11, 2021: Applicants notified of status via email; audition feedback provided shortly thereafter
  • July 2021: Program begins

Instrumentation

NYO Jazz is accepting applications for the 2021 season on the following instruments:
  • flute
  • clarinet
  • saxophone (alto, tenor, and baritone)
  • trumpet
  • trombone (tenor and bass)
  • piano
  • bass
  • guitar
  • drums

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 email a completed fee-waiver application to nyojazz@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 Acceptd. Fee waiver requests must be received no later than January 1, 2021.

Application Requirements

  • Audition Videos (details below)
  • Biographical Essay: In approximately 200–300 words, describe your background and musical/educational experience, including how participation in NYO Jazz 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 Jazz). Your references will have until February 5, 2021 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 Videos

All applicants to NYO Jazz 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 and should select the best of several takes). All videos must be recorded within six months of the application deadline. Professional equipment and/or studio space is not necessary for a successful application to NYO Jazz. With attention to a few details, your music making can be conveyed using readily available consumer electronics. Many past participants have recorded successful applications using iPhones or other smartphones. Please refer to our Video Guidelines for additional information and suggestions for effectively recording your audition.

Required Video Segments:
  • Introduction: Either before your first audition track or as a separate file, please include a spoken introduction in which you state your name, instrument, and hometown.
  • Musical Selections: Based on specific details provided below, you will be asked to record one video for each required tune/style/excerpt for your instrument. If you wish to demonstrate proficiency on a doubling instrument, you must include one or two additional examples. Applicants may perform unaccompanied, with a live rhythm section, or with prerecorded rhythm tracks. A live performance that clearly demonstrates your abilities is also acceptable.
  • Video Essay: Please record an answer to one of the following questions:
    • What is a non-musical interest or activity that you are passionate about and why?
    • What musician (of any genre) most inspires you and why (or how)?
    • What is your favorite non-musical creative work (book, painting, poem, movie, etc.) and why does it speak to you?

Musical Selections

To request lead sheets for the required tunes below, or if you have questions about applying to NYO Jazz, please email nyojazz@carnegiehall.org.

Brass/Woodwinds
  • Required:
    • One medium up-tempo bebop tune—either “Anthropology,” “Ornithology,” or “Scrapple from the Apple”—with two-chorus improvisation
    • One chorus of a ballad—either “Body and Soul” or “In a Sentimental Mood”—interpreting the melody in an improvisational manner while staying true to the melodic construct
    • One funk, hip-hop, or R&B tune, with optional improvisation
    • Lead Trumpet Only: Perform excerpts from “Little Pixie,” “Into the Sun,” and “Transitions”
    • Baritone Saxophone Only: Perform excerpts from “Little Pixie” and “Into the Sun”
    • Bass Trombone Only: Perform excerpts from “Tip Toe,” “Into the Sun,” and “Transitions”
  • Optional:
    • Solo three-chorus improvisation on either “Moment’s Notice” or “Giant Steps”

If you double on another instrument, please include one or two additional examples of your playing on that instrument. You must submit examples for each doubling instrument listed on your application. 

Piano/Guitar/Bass/Vibes
  • Required:
    • “Billie’s Bounce” (medium up-tempo): one chorus of melody, two choruses comping or walking, and two choruses soloing
    • One chorus of a ballad—either “Body and Soul” or “In a Sentimental Mood”—improvising loosely off the melody
    • Melody and solo from an odd-meter composition—either “Take Five” or “Nommo”
    • Guitar Only: Demonstrate comping to a swing tune in the style of Freddie Green.
    • Bass Only: If you play electric bass, please demonstrate one minute of the following:
      • Afro-Cuban or Brazilian
      • Funk or hip-hop
  • Strongly Recommended:
    • Provide an excerpt of your playing in an ensemble—preferably a big band—in either rehearsal or performance.
  • Optional:
    • Solo three-chorus improvisation on “Cherokee,” “Confirmation,” or “Giant Steps”
Drums
  • Required:
    • Demonstrate the following, playing eight bars of time, eight bars of a solo, and eight bars trading twos:
      • Medium swing (quarter note = 105)
      • Medium up-tempo swing (quarter note = 190)
      • Up-tempo swing (quarter note = 280 or higher)
    • One minute of each of the following styles (with optional chorus of improvisation for each):
      • Afro-Cuban or Brazilian
      • Jazz shuffle
      • Ballad
      • Funk or hip-hop
    • One minute each in 5/4 and 7/4 time signatures, respectively
    • Provide an excerpt of your playing in an ensemble—preferably a big band, in either rehearsal or performance—that demonstrates your ability to drive the ensemble, accompany soloists, and play with sensitivity.

Eligibility

Citizenship: NYO Jazz 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 2021, this means your birthdate must be between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2005, 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: Participation in NYO Jazz 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 2020–2021 academic year to be eligible for the 2021 NYO Jazz program. Gap-year students who graduated from high school in 2020 (or earlier) are not eligible.

Travel Arrangements

Invited students and their parent/guardian(s) are expected to arrange air or ground transportation to attend the NYO Jazz program, traveling to/from the New York City area on designated arrival and departure dates. (If applicable based on the tour flight itinerary, the option to depart from NYO Jazz via an airport outside of New York may be provided.) Each student must also arrange to have a valid passport by the deadline provided for visa and other travel requirements. Assistance to cover these travel costs is available in cases of financial need, and information about how to apply for a travel award will be provided to accepted applicants.

All other travel associated with participation in NYO Jazz, including international and domestic flights between tour cities, airport transfers, sightseeing excursions, and all other ground transportation (including any activities during the residency period taking place outside of the Purchase College campus) is arranged and paid for by Carnegie Hall.

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.

Major support has been provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Clive and Anya Gillinson, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, and Joyce and George Wein Foundation, Inc.

Additional support has been provided by Sarah Arison, Bank of America.

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