June 19–July 19, 2021

Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts are monitoring the continually changing nature of the COVID-19 virus very closely and taking the appropriate precautions.

At this time we are hopeful for a four-week, on-grounds experience this summer. While we have created a plan that would allow us to host students, it contains a number of assumptions because we have not yet received clear guidance from New York State as to what restrictions will be placed on programs like ours. We expect that guidance to come sometime in April and if the state allows it, we hope to finalize and share safety plans for in-person sessions by early May.

In order to provide the safest environment in our facilities, we will be reducing our programs both in artistic and educational offerings.  We will also be reducing our student body to accommodate single occupancy rooms in our residence halls.

NEW FOR 2021: 100% of program costs will be covered by scholarship for all instrumental students. All you need to do is get here!

Each summer we enroll 82 of the most promising young instrumentalists from here and abroad to join us for an exciting summer of music making. Our students are typically 18 to 28 and enrolled in (or recently graduated from) undergraduate or graduate studies. On occasion, we do admit a high school student who is advanced enough and ready to undertake seven weeks of intensive study.

The School of Music at Chautauqua considers orchestral work, private study, and chamber music each to be vital components of the program. The orchestra rehearses daily for the majority of the summer and performs its concerts in Chautauqua’s newly renovated (in 2017) 4,400-seat outdoor Amphitheater. Other facets of orchestral study include sectionals, repertoire classes and mock auditions all run by our professional faculty. Topics covered include the psychology of auditioning, performance issues/anxiety, and instant feedback providing priceless insight into the professional road ahead.

Our chamber music program runs throughout the festival and includes a 10-day intensive period during which the orchestra does not meet, allowing the students to be fully focused on their chamber music projects. Students receive regular coaching from our distinguished faculty and have multiple performance opportunities. Many of the ensembles mix with our voice, piano and even theater and dance programs to provide a wide and diverse offering of performing experiences.

Private study rounds out the curriculum with each student receiving six private lessons with a member of our world-renowned faculty. Master classes from both resident and guest faculty are part of the program as well. Our climate-controlled practice cabins provide an ideal environment for the personal work that goes into a summer of artistic growth.


String players should note that there is a Resident Luthier on site who holds regular hours in Lenna Hall.

Timothy Muffitt, music director of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Laureate of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, is the principal conductor for the concert series by the MSFO. There are no auditions for seating, all sections are rotated for each concert.

The Music School Festival Orchestra is underwritten by the Hultquist Foundation of Jamestown, NY.

In 2021, the concerts are scheduled for June 28, July 5, July 12, and July 19 (with the Voice Program).


Email me Instrumental Program information

Apply Today :: Instrumental Program

072619 SoM Portraits gf 04The 2021 School of Music welcomes applications from all pre-professional students. All eligible musicians will be considered with no preference to racial or ethnic origins, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, or age. 

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070119 MSFO Concert MS 03Each instrumentalist receives six private lessons with a member of the faculty. Students are welcome to practice in our new air-conditioned cabins located on the campus.

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Cost & General Information

07232019 HebrewScholarshipRecital VG 01Living costs, meal plans, tuition and deposit requirements for the upcoming season.

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Housing and Student Life

072219 SOM GF 01Students live in our dorms side by side with other musicians, dancers and visual artists forming relationships that last a lifetime.

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Guest Artists and Master Classes

070119 Frank Cohen Masterclass DM 10Chautauqua's music festival is peppered with a rich master class program that caters to each individual student. During the seven-week festival over 50 public master classes will be held and all students are encouraged to attend and learn technique from masters outside of their primary study.

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Instrumental Chamber Music

072119 SOM GF 06Chamber Music is scheduled for all sections of the orchestra in two distinct phases. The first phase is with faculty coaches between weeks 2 to 4, and the second phase is with guest coaches and different repertoire between weeks 5 to 6.

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Sigma Alpha Iota Competition

07082019 MSFOPerformance AW 05The Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc. Competition rotates annually among the three departments, in 2022 the competition will be held within the Instrumental Program. Photo: Marie Engle, Mezzo, 2018 SAI Winner

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Video Archive

08122019 MSFOLastPerformance2019 VG 05Watch past Music School Festival Orchestra performances.

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