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The Kennedy Center

The National Symphony Orchestra
National Trustees

Summer Music Institute
July 2 – July 30, 2018

Deadline Extended: January 29, 2018

Excerpt recording requirements have changed. Please read below. (Updated 1/12/18)

Celebrating 25 years!

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). The program is designed to expose and prepare students for a 21st Century orchestral career.

This 4-week tuition-free 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 Abel Pereira
  • Major works to be performed in orchestra include Dvorak Symphony No. 9 and Brahms Symphony No. 4
  • 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 scholarship, which includes housing, lessons, and local transportation; sometimes provided by WC/NSO, during their stay. Round-trip transportation to and from Washington, DC is not included. Additionally, a stipend for cost of food during the institute is not provided.

Questions: Contact NSO Education (202) 416-8820 or

Click here to see highlights from 2017 SMI Orchestra

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

To Apply:

The deadline for next summer's program is in 2019.

The following materials are required for the SMI application:

  • Orchestral excerpts for instrument (Video Recording)
  • Solo piece (Video Recording)
  • One Recommendation from music teacher or conductor
  • Applicant's Musical Resumé
    (Sample of Musical Resume)

All application materials are to be uploaded onto the online application, which will be available November 2017. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee. See the Program Description and Application Instructions below for further details.

Other Resources

2018 Orchestral Excerpts by Instruments

Excerpts can be recorded as single tracks or in one continuous track. (Updated 1/12/18)

If you are having trouble printing the excerpts, try downloading the document and printing from your machine or try a different browser-Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc. Please email or call if the issue persists.


Questions about accessibility or accommodations? Contact the Office of Accessibility directly at (202) 416-8727 (voice) or

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