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Peer Into a New World of Post-Graduate Orchestra Training

By Kelly Church

With so many post-graduate programs available, it's no surprise there's one for orchestra musicians. Miami, FL's New World Symphony (NWS) is an established post-graduate program designed to train professional musicians to be orchestra and ensemble leaders. Through a rigorous application and interview process, a select few musicians are selected. However, over the last nearly 30 years, the NWS has assisted in launching 950 professional musicians' careers worldwide. Craig Hall, Vice President for Communications for the New World Symphony, says that each fellow is intentionally selected for the program with the direction that they will become leaders in music.

"Of the 87 fellowships we have each year, there are about 30 openings annually, and about 1,500 applicants for those openings," Hall says. "Winning an audition creates employment, and once a musician becomes a member of an orchestra, they can sometimes hold that position for life. The New World Symphony therefore places an emphasis on audition training."

Musicians come to the New World Symphony with undergraduate degrees, many with their master's degrees and some with PhDs. Their musical skill is refined and technically exceptional. Of their fellows, the following instruments are played: violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, french horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp and, of course, the piano. During each fellows' application process, live auditions and video-taped auditions were required. The NWS holds an audition tour every year in order to see live auditions. The 2016-2017 audition tour visits Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Cleveland, Houston and Miami. Those interested in the timpani and percussion will only be seen in Miami. For those wanting to prepare for the audition tour, NWS has their bases covered all in effort of finding the best in the business.

"Each year, NWS holds multiple audition preparation seminars, involving visiting coaches from major orchestras, is held each year, and consists of a series of audition training exercises and private audition coaching, as well as a panel discussion of the audition process from the perspective of the orchestra audition committee," Hall says.

Once accepted, New World Symphony fellows are part of the orchestra for three years with the intention of developing them into greater musicians and interacting directly with the community. The NWS supports this through programs like the WALLCAST concerts, a program that brings classical music outside the concert hall to the streets of Miami Beach, mixing community members of all ages with classical music.

"We want our fellows to learn that, for classical music to thrive, you must make direct and important connections with the community in which you live and work," Hall says. "Through the concert programming and various other elements of our experiential curriculum, we demonstrate how various concert formats and educational programs help to develop these important relationships with community members and groups, thereby elevating the importance and relevance of the institution."

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