• How to Apply

    Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute invites outstanding young American instrumentalists ages 14–17 to audition for NYO2’s 2018 season. NYO2 has a particular focus on attracting talented students from groups underserved by and underrepresented in the classical orchestral field. All application materials must be submitted using an online form administered by DecisionDesk, a service that provides a digital audition platform to many performing arts schools and programs. In order to start the NYO2 application, you will need to create a DecisionDesk account. (If you already have one, you can start a new application using your existing account.) Once you have created a DecisionDesk 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.


    A formal nomination from a teacher, ensemble director, school/band/orchestra administrator, or community leader is required as part of the application. NYO2 welcomes the nomination of musicians who have not had access to highly selective ensemble training opportunities through youth orchestra programs, summer festivals, camps, or similar experiences outside of their own communities. Nominations must be submitted through a short online form that will be available in early September.



    • September 12, 2017: Application opens
    • December 1, 2017: Deadline for nominations to be received by Carnegie Hall
    • December 15, 2017: Application deadline (at 11:59 PM in your respective time zone)
    • January 1, 2018: Recommendation deadline
    • February 17, 2018: Applicants notified of status via email; audition feedback provided shortly thereafter
    • Late June / Early July 2018: Program begins


    Applicants can apply on standard symphonic instruments: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, percussion/timpani, and harp.

    Application Requirements

    • Audition Videos (see below)
    • Biographical Essay: In approximately 100–200 words, describe your background and musical/educational experience.
    • 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 DecisionDesk (not Carnegie Hall or NYO2). Your references will have until January 1, 2018, 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 NYO2 are required to record a series of 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). All videos must be recorded within eight months of the application deadline. Professional equipment and/or studio space is not necessary for a successful application to NYO2. 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: Before performing your solo selection, please include a spoken introduction in which you state your name, instrument, hometown, and title of the solo work you have chosen.
    • Solo Piece: The solo piece can be any work of your choice, or a movement/section of a longer work, provided that it is approximately three minutes in duration. If the piece is longer than three 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 NYO2 audition requirements, but please record and upload the spoken introduction separately. A work with piano accompaniment (except if you are applying on percussion) is strongly preferred.
    • Excerpts: Each instrument has one required orchestral excerpt. (Percussionists will be asked to play one excerpt on each of a few standard instruments.)
    • Scales: Please play one major and one minor (harmonic or melodic) scale in any key of your choice with up to four sharps/flats from memory at a comfortable tempo. Each scale should be played twice, once slurred and once separated, using an articulation or bowing of your choice. Violin, viola, and cello applicants should play two or three octaves; bass, wind, and brass applicants should play one or two octaves. Percussionists can play two-octave scales on a mallet instrument of choice, using two different articulations.
    • Video Essay: Please record an answer to one of the following questions:
      • What is your most meaningful musical experience, either as a performer or as a listener?
      • 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)?


    Citizenship/Residency: NYO2 is open to US citizens or full-time US residents.

    Age Limit: You must be between the ages of 14 and 17 during the summer of your participation. For 2018, this means that 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 you apply, the consent of your parent or guardian is required.

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

    Founder Patron: Beatrice Santo Domingo.


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    With additional funding provided by: Ernst & Young LLP