UPDATED: May 2, 2020

Dear 2020 Chautauqua School of Music Students, 

Let us begin by saying we hope this message finds you safe and healthy. We know the kinds of challenges you are facing, and our best wishes are with you. 

The Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees met yesterday for its quarterly meeting with the primary agenda being to determine the Institution’s course of action for the 2020 Summer Assembly. The Board determined that there will be no face-to-face programming on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution during the summer of 2020 and that the Summer Assembly will happen online. This decision was made with your health and safety being of the utmost importance. 

Because of this decision, the School of Music will not meet on-grounds at Chautauqua Institution this summer. We are incredibly pleased, however, to invite you to participate in the Chautauqua Online School of Music, a four-week intensive program (July 13–August 8) designed to provide you with the structure, guidance, and inspiration necessary for you to continue your artistic growth over the summer. Information on how to register for this program will be sent next week. 

We are also very pleased to share with you that this program is offered at no expense to you, thanks to full scholarships offered by donors. Chautauqua Institution’s dedication to life-long learning has prompted the Institution to underwrite all the expenses for the summer so that you can participate even in these financially challenging times.  

Any deposits paid up until this point will be refunded to you in the next couple of weeks. It will be refunded to you in the way that it was originally paid upon your enrollment. 

Along with work with your private teacher, and our other extraordinary faculty and guests, we have developed a series of school-wide presentations from world-renowned experts on valuable topics such as Innovation and the 21st Century Musician, Artistic Development and Wellness, Career Development and a week devoted to giving you access to prominent alumni from Chautauqua who will share their stories and answer your questions about navigating a life in music. These offerings were developed in response to your direct feedback via the student surveys distributed earlier this Spring, along with input from School of Music faculty. We are excited that this collaborative effort will present opportunities that reflect the strengths and possibilities in the digital learning environment. More details will be forthcoming next week with registration information. 

One of the unique aspects of Chautauqua’s School of Music is the interaction that takes place within the community of artists on the grounds and within greater Chautauqua community as well. As we have designed this program, we have worked to maintain some of those elements in the hopes of bringing you the kinds of broad insight and inspiration that can only be found in the multi-disciplinary environment that is Chautauqua. 

Regarding the 2021 Chautauqua School of Music, we will soon be sharing details of how your acceptance into this year’s program will affect the admissions process into next year’s program.    

The disappointment we feel at not being able to meet with you in person this summer is immense for all of us. We do, however, look forward with great anticipation to working with you in this online program.   

Best wishes to you, stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you online in July. 



Timothy Muffitt 
Artistic and Music Director, CHQ School of Music 


Sarah Malinoski-Umberger
Manager, Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts

UPDATED: March 23, 2020

Dear Students,

Given the current situation it is vital that we place the utmost importance on our personal health and safety and also that of our community, faculty, staff and students in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The staff and faculty of the Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts are monitoring the continually changing nature of this virus very closely and taking the appropriate precautions.

Will Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts be open for summer 2020?   
At this time, with the start of our 2020 summer assembly season more than three months away, there are no government restrictions or declarations that impact the summer. We are continuing to prepare for the full season as planned. 

If Chautauqua Schools must cancel, will I receive a refund on deposits and tuition paid?
We do understand that many of you are concerned about making plans for the coming months when so much seems to be uncertain right now. At this point in time we remain optimistic about the ability to hold our summer season and are moving ahead with planning for those programs. As a protective measure for individuals who have enrolled we have decided upon the following:

  • In the event that Chautauqua must cancel a program entirely due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we will notify participants 3 weeks (21 days) in advance and provide a full refund on tuition, room and board, including deposits.
  • As a preventive measure, we have updated our cancellation policy for all novel coronavirus (COVID-19) related issues, from 30 days to 7 days ahead of the start of a session. This updated policy is intended to assist in the instance of illness, exposure, or travel restrictions and will provide a full refund on tuition, room and board, including deposits.

While our physical administrative offices closed last week, staff is working as hard as ever from home, and are fully available. We have a task force closely monitoring the situation, and if we need to make changes, we will inform you without delay. Any modifications will be based on public health recommendations and will prioritize the health and safety of our students, audience, artists, staff, and wider community.

Thank you for being part of this amazing community and we are looking forward to the day when we can all make beautiful music and art together.



Sarah Malinoski-Umberger
Manager, Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts