New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra

Coached by New Jersey Symphony musicians, the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra gives qualified middle- and high-school students—especially Black and Latinx youth in the Greater Newark area—unparalleled opportunities to achieve personal and musical excellence.

Auditions for the 2023–24 season will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at Montclair State University. Students currently in grades 3-11 of all skill levels are welcome to apply.

Audition Requirements Apply for Program

Upcoming Concerts

Go behind the scenes of the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra through a spotlight series presented by M&T Bank.

About the Program

The New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra brings together students of all skill levels who share a passion for music. There are four performing ensembles that are sequential in level, creating a pathway for students to flourish and grow under the guidance of the Symphony’s expert faculty:

In addition to great music making across four performing ensembles, benefits of the program include:

  • Coaching by New Jersey Symphony musicians
  • Individualized instruction and musicianship training
  • Flexibility especially designed for students in marching band
  • Volunteer opportunities and mentorship training
  • Additional performance opportunities for advanced students
  • Complimentary tickets to select New Jersey Symphony concerts
  • Supportive peer-to-peer environment

Rehearsal Days & Locations

In 2022–23, Youth Orchestra ensembles will rehearse in-person on Saturdays from 9:30 am–3:00 pm (exact time depends on ensemble placement). The virtual ensemble track will meet on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:00 pm.

Students must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to participate in person. The virtual ensemble track is an alternative designed for students who are not vaccinated.

In-person rehearsals take place at John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. Students from the Greater Newark area are welcome to ride the free shuttle bus provided by the Symphony from Newark to MSU.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my child/student prepare for the audition?
Click here for auditions requirements and orchestral excerpts that should be prepared, along with a solo piece. We recommend that your child prepare by playing the notes accurately and following the indicated tempo and dynamics; that the artistry and interpretation of the solo piece is appropriate to their level; and most importantly, that they play with confidence!

What should my child/student play for his/her solo piece?
A solo piece should be a piece that best represents his/her current playing abilities. Please review the audition requirements for the ensemble for which he/she will be auditioning. The solo piece does not need to be memorized, and will be performed unaccompanied (there is NO piano available.) Solo pieces should be 2–3 minutes in length. Longer movements for more advanced students are fine, but please be aware the adjudicators may stop the student before the movement is complete, for time’s sake.

Will my child/student need to play all of the orchestral excerpts?
Your child/student should prepare all of the orchestral excerpts listed under the requirements for the ensemble for which he/she will be auditioning. It is up to the adjudicators’ discretion whether or not all excerpts will be played during the audition. 

Is there an audition fee?
No. There is no fee to audition for the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra.

How much does participation in the program cost?
For the participation fee structure, please contact

Do you accept students with little or no playing experience?
The New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra offers beginner/preparatory strings instruction to students in the Greater Newark area only, through our Training Ensemble, which provides individualized instruction, subsidized instrument rentals (only a $20 instrument fee is charged per student) and musicianship training.

What if the audition deadline has already passed?
Occasionally, there will be openings during the season for select instruments. Contact to find out if there are openings for your instrument.

Join the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra Alumni Network

Are you among the program’s alumni? We would love to reconnect with you!

We invite you to fill out this brief questionnaire and join our Facebook group.


Graduating Classes

Class of 2022

Read about the graduates from the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Class of 2022.

More Info

New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra Artistic Leadership

A group of dedicated professionals leads the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Meet the Team

Sponsors make this program possible. Thank you!

  • BD
  • Broadbridge Foundation
  • Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation
  • Ken and Susan Fahrenholtz
  • Marjorie Bunnell Charitable Fund
  • Merck Foundation
  • M&T Bank
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • The Harold I. and Faye B. Liss Foundation
  • Turrell Fund
  • Verizon
  • Victoria Foundation
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This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.