June 23–August 14, 2018

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 seven weeks and performs its concerts in Chautauqua’s newly renovated (in 2017) 4,400-seat Amphitheater. Among the highlights for the summer of 2018 will be a performance with the combined forces of the MSFO and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 “Leningrad”. 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, 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 at least 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.

We are also pleased to announce that The Silkroad Ensemble will have a residency with us during summer 2018! A host of events, including two private masterclasses for students only, will be held during the week of August 6.

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 Baton Rouge Symphony and the Lansing Symphony, is the principal conductor for the six-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 2018, the concerts are scheduled for July 2, July 9, July 18 (joint collaboration with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra), July 23, August 6 and August 13.

2018 MSFO Repertoire

Apply Today :: MSFO

070517 First music school festival orchestra mpo 056Chautauqua welcomes applications from talented students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin or religious background. Admission is by application and audition for full-term students.

Read More



msfo teachingEach 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.

Read More


Cost & General Information

070517 First music school festival orchestra mpo 107Living costs, meal plans, tuition and deposit requirements for the upcoming season.

Read More


Housing and Student Life

bellinger2Students live in our dorms side by side with other musicians, dancers and visual artists forming relationships that last a lifetime.

Read More


Guest Artists and Master Classes

07xx17 flutemasterclass ec340Chautauqua'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.

Read More


MSFO Chamber Music

20170803 ls 03722Chamber 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.

Read More