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The National Symphony Orchestra National Trustees
Summer Music Institute

Every summer, approximately 60 students (ages 15-20) from all over the United States, as well as a number of other countries, meet in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center to attend the National Symphony Orchestra's Summer Music Institute (SMI).

This 4-week full scholarship program includes:

  • Private lessons taught by a member of the NSO
  • Chamber music coaching by NSO musicians
  • Master classes and seminars
  • Side-by-side orchestra rehearsals with the NSO
  • Attendance at selected rehearsal and performances of the NSO
  • Participation in the NSO Summer Music Institute Orchestra, conducted by Elizabeth Schulze
  • Performance opportunities in DC metropolitan area, including on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage
  • Exposure to internationally-renowned conductors, soloists, and musicians

Each student accepted into the program attends on full scholarship, which includes housing, lessons, a food allowance, and local transportation; sometimes provided by WC/NSO, during their stay.

Questions: Contact NSO Education 202.416.8820 or

I know that without the NSO Summer Music Institute, I wouldn't have discovered my passion for music. The program played a pivotal role in my musical development and I believe it has unique benefits that every young musician (whether they want to pursue a career in music or not) should experience. I have yet to see another American Symphony Orchestra with an education department so strongly committed and dedicated to the education/development of young talented musicians. I am extremely grateful and lucky to have been a part of the Summer Music Institute.
Emilio Carlo, SMI 2011 & 2013 and currently a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Diversity Fellow
I am incredibly fortunate that my musical path has led me to my current position with the Sarasota Orchestra - and began, in high school, with three summers at the NSO Kennedy Center SMI program. Particularly challenging and memorable was the orchestral training I received there between 2006 and 2008. It was an entirely new experience to methodically prepare large works under the expert direction of conductor Elizabeth Schulze. She insisted that we not just play the notes, but utilize tools of musical language: the power of directing a phrase to a chosen moment; the rewards of fostering awareness of your colleagues' artistic contributions. The relationships I formed with my fellow students continue to the present day. Perhaps most rewarding has been watching former participants' careers take off. Whether in music performance, education, therapy, or a non-musical discipline entirely, we all carry essential lessons we learned at SMI wherever we go.
Katie Jordan, SMI 2006, 2007, & 2008 and currently 2nd Horn of the Sarasota Orchestra

To Apply:

Online Application to
2017 Summer Music Institute

SMI Application Deadline
January 23, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. (EST)
(Program dates:June 26-July 24, 2017)

The following materials are required for the SMI application:

  • Orchestral excerpts for instrument
  • Solo piece
  • One Recommendation from music teacher or conductor
  • Applicant's Musical Resumé

All application materials are to be uploaded onto the online application.

Other Resources

2017 Orchestral Excerpts by Instruments

(* Do not record all excerpts in one continuous track. Each excerpt must be its own file attached on the application individually.)

If you have any questions, please contact the NSO Education Program at
(202) 416-8820 or by e-mail at