Challenge yourself to grow in an intensive conservatory environment. The three-week course features personalized attention from celebrated faculty, many of whom are Curtis alumni with thriving pedagogical or performance careers. A comprehensive musical schedule includes private lessons, diverse ensembles, opportunities to perform, and more. View a PDF of the schedule.
Musicians aged 14 to 22 who have studied privately at the advanced level are encouraged to apply.
Composition participants will receive five lessons during the program.
—In the first and second weeks, participants will attend a total of four hour-long lessons in pairs in order to gain the additional perspective from observing a deep conversation of a peer’s work. Time in each lesson will be split equally and both participants will receive feedback on their compositions.
—In the third week, each of the composition participants will have the opportunity to meet privately with the chair of Curtis’s composition department and YASP artistic director, David Serkin Ludwig, for a 45-minute lesson.
Those interested in competing will be asked to submit a video recording of one movement of a standard concerto about six weeks before the start of the program. You may use a score for the video recording, but should you be selected to participate in the final round, your performance must be from memory. For the video, an accompanist is encouraged but not required. A panel of faculty judges will select ten finalists to go forward to the final round. Finalists will be notified by e-mail a week before the program begins. Each finalist will have ten minutes in front of a live jury during the first week of the program. Three prize-winners will be chosen. The first-prize winner will perform on one of the final concerts.
Those interested in competing will be asked to submit a video recording of one movement of a standard concerto about six weeks before the start of the program. You may use a score for the video recording, but should you be selected to participate in the final round, your performance must be from memory. For the video, an accompanist is encouraged but not required. A panel of faculty judges will select ten finalists to go forward to the final round. Finalists will be notified by e-mail a week before the program begins. Each finalist will have ten minutes in front of a live jury during the first week of the program. The first-prize winner will perform on one of the final concerts.
The whole program, about 100 students, comes together through:
*Those who apply after January 19 receive notification of admission and financial aid status on a rolling basis, as space remains available.
*Application fee: $90 before noon EST on January 17, 2020; $125 (after January 17).
**Includes three unlimited meals per day, housing in Lenfest Hall, and residential activities. Does not include travel or medical care. Local musicians are welcome to commute.
Acceptance to the Young Artist Summer Program is need-blind. Limited financial assistance from Curtis Summerfest may be available, but is not guaranteed. Notice of financial assistance awards will be included in the acceptance status e-mail.
Students and parents are also urged to seek financial assistance from local sources: self-organized fundraisers; school music organizations; county, state, or national music education organizations; youth orchestras and bands; music clubs; service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanas, etc.); businesses; local churches; and foundations.
Merit-based financial assistance
To apply for merit-based financial assistance, see section (Scholarship) of the online application. Answer “Yes” to the first question in this section (“Are you applying for merit-based financial assistance?”).
No further action is required to be considered for merit-based financial assistance.
Need-based financial assistance
To apply for need-based financial assistance, upload the following to section 4 (Scholarship) of the online application.
The majority of YASP applicants are dependent upon parent or guardians. If you are an older applicant and are financially independent, income documentation should be your own.
Musicians who reside in Canada are invited to apply for the Council for Canadian American Relations Cross-Border Summer Scholarship, which covers tuition, housing, and dining for those who might not otherwise have the financial resources to participate. One Canadian applicant from those accepted into the program will receive notification of this award by e-mail. Applicants who wish to be considered for this scholarship should complete the need-based financial assistance application on the Scholarship page of the online application.
George Walker Fellowship in Composition
The George Walker Composition Fellowship is named in memory of the late composer and pianist, a Curtis alumnus. The fellowship is offered through a unique partnership between the Curtis Institute of Music and the Ritz Chamber Players, and may be awarded to a promising young composer of color participating in the Young Artists Summer Program at Curtis Summerfest who demonstrates some of the trailblazing characteristics that were hallmarks of Dr. Walker’s career trajectory and compositions.
The fellowship recipient will receive free tuition as well as complimentary room and board in Lenfest Hall during Summerfest. As a participant at the Young Artist Summer Program, the fellow will write a chamber work to be workshopped, performed, and professionally recorded. The work will receive an additional performance during the 2019–20 Ritz Chamber Players season.
To apply for the fellowship, submit the Summerfest online application, and click the box indicating the George Walker Composition Fellowship. The Fellow will be notified of their award with their acceptance status notification. Curtis Summerfest may defer awarding the Fellowship until future years in the unlikely event no eligible applicants are accepted.
Long a pioneering figure, Dr. Walker left a profound impact on the landscape of American music and remained active well into his nineties. During his lifetime he published over 90 works for orchestra, chamber orchestra, piano, strings, voice, organ, clarinet, guitar, brass, woodwinds, and chorus. His music has been performed by virtually every major orchestra in the United States.
George Walker graduated from Curtis in 1945, having double-majored in piano and composition. He was one of the first African Americans to graduate from Curtis, the first African American to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, and the first African American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in music. Dr. Walker served as composer in residence for the Ritz Chamber Players from 2008 to 2009, and the ensemble has performed many of his chamber works throughout its long history.
Curtis Summerfest's extremely nurturing musical environment helped me grow not only as a musician, but also as a person. The opportunity to work with such accomplished and inspiring faculty who encouraged a supportive, learning-focused atmosphere was truly irreplaceable. I can confidently say that the connections I built with the program's talented and dedicated musicians through our shared passion for classical music will last me a lifetime.
She has loved every minute of her time with you all, from her flute lessons, ... chamber music, choir and orchestral music to the friends she made, the people she met, staff at Curtis Summerfest and Philadelphia itself. She has come home, knowing without question, that she wants a career in music and is very focused on what she needs to do moving forward into her two final years at school.
Curtis Summerfest was one of the best experiences of my life. I met so many interesting and talented people. It was amazing to be in an environment where everyone is extremely dedicated and has a shared interest. The Curtis Summerfest faculty are such a supportive and smart group of people. As a composer there, I learned so much from Nick DiBerardino and David Ludwig and the guest composers who taught us.
Thank you for making YASP such a memorable experience. Everyone at Curtis created such a warm and supportive environment, so thank you — I had the time of my life.
I learned so much about music and life in general, I can’t wait to apply their advice in my own life. It is an amazing opportunity to work with such wonderful people as a high school student.
...[H]ow grateful I feel to have attended such an amazing music course where I learnt so many things in such a short amount of time. ... Attending this prestigious summer course has inspired me so strongly and has given me the pure confidence that this is exactly why I wish to continue learning music.
“The Young Artist Summer Program was the best experience of my life. Sincerely, all the expectations that I had before going to YASP were NOTHING compared to what I lived those 3 weeks in Philadelphia. The masterclasses, the chamber groups, the choir, my lessons with the faculty, the orchestra… All the activities that we had were amazing!! I enjoyed meeting people from all over the whole world and making music with them. I’m sure I not only met the greatest musicians of my age, I made friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life. If I could go back in time to any part of my life, I absolutely would go back to the summer I lived at Curtis.”
“It is hard to describe how profound an experience it was to work with someone of David Ludwig’s caliber and talent and what he imparted to me musically is hard to put into words, but I enjoyed the lessons with him very much. With the instruction and encouragement of David Ludwig and the other professors, along with the atmosphere that was created at Curtis Summerfest, I was able to create music and work at a level that was superior to anything I have so far achieved. … I learned so much & it inspired me toward deeper and sustained music study.”
“We appreciate the nurturing and supportive environment all of you created – it gave her a real boost in confidence and brought the joy she feels when playing music to the forefront. Your program gave her a more mature and whole way of looking at music as a career and way of life.”
YASP has made me love music more and love life more, and I am forever grateful. It has changed my life.
“The final concerts were nothing short of incredible. The sound of the orchestra was jaw-dropping and the sight of our son so poised at the piano left us overwhelmed with gratitude. He feels every aspect of the program this year helped develop him. … It is a gift that continues to give, long after the program ends.”
At Curtis Summerfest, each day was so full of music that it seemed impossible to fit in any more, yet if there had been a way to include more music in every day (and still eat and sleep) I would have gladly done so. … Now, I often find myself encountering pieces, styles of music, and composers that I first learned about at YASP composition seminars.