The National Symphony Orchestra
Summer Music Institute
June 29 - July 27, 2020
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
- Performance opportunities in DC metropolitan area, including on the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall stage
- Exposure to internationally-renowned conductors, soloists, and musicians
Repertoire to be announced by September
Each student accepted into the program attends tuition-free, which includes housing, lessons, and local transportation; sometimes provided by the Volunteer Council for the 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. If you need assistance for travel costs and/or food costs during the 4 weeks, you are encouraged to apply for financial aid by the application deadline.
SMI 2018 Video
“I have seen myself and those around me achieve tremendous growth as musicians and human beings throughout this program. I can say with absolute certainty that SMI has changed me, and I have a profound connection with this program.”
“Just the sheer proximity to such successful musicians is influential enough. But the opportunity to actually join in in conversation with them is invaluable.”
“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.”
“The connections I made during the institute proved to be invaluable to my careers as a symphony musician in Europe, as a pop musician touring the world, and my career as a music publisher in New York City. I highly recommend SMI for orchestral musicians looking to increase their repertoire, work in a professional setting, and network with musicians from around the globe.”
“I blossomed under the attention of the orchestral and chamber music faculty of SMI and am most grateful to the Institute for its support and encouragement.”
How To Apply
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 fall 2019. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee. See the Program Description and Application Instructions below for further details.
Students living in the Washington, DC metro area or who can provide their own housing, can be considered to participate in the full orchestra portion only of the Summer Music Institute. Click here to learn more.
- 2019 SMI Faculty
- Financial Aid Application (US applicants only)
- Program Description and Application Instructions
- 2019 SMI Web Brochure
- Sample Program Schedule
- SMI Suggested Concerto Competition List
2020 Orchestral Excerpts by Instruments
Excerpts must be video recordings and can be recorded as single tracks or in one continuous track.
*Some pdf files will include blank pages in between excerpts, please check each page in the document for all required excerpts. Excerpts updated November 2019
View the 2019 Roster
David M. Rubenstein is the Presenting Underwriter of the NSO.
The National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute is made possible through generous support from Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Small,and the National Symphony Orchestra National Trustees.
Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts
Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by David M. Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program.
Generous support is also provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
Gifts and grants to educational programs at the Kennedy Center are provided by A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation; Sandra K. & Clement C. Alpert; The Annenberg Foundation; The Argus Fund; Bank of America; Bender Foundation, Inc.; The Honorable Stuart Bernstein and Wilma E. Bernstein; Carter and Melissa Cafritz Charitable Trust; Michael F. and Noémi K. Neidorff and The Centene Charitable Foundation; CMA Foundation; Crayola; Dalio Foundation; DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; Kimberly Engel and Family-The Dennis and Judy Engel Charitable Foundation; The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation; Exelon; Flocabulary; Ford Foundation; The Gessner Family Foundation; GRoW @ Annenberg and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Family; Harman Family Foundation; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Herb Alpert Foundation; The Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc.; iTheatrics; The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; Jim and Heather Johnson; The Karel Komárek Family Foundation; the Kimsey Endowment; The King-White Family Foundation and Dr. J. Douglas White; Natalie and Herb Kohler and Kohler Co.; Laird Norton Family Foundation; Amanda Lucidon; Macy's; The Markow Totevy Foundation; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; Linda and Tobia Mercuro; Little Kids Rock; The Meredith Foundation; The Millennium Stage Endowment Fund; The Morningstar Foundation; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Music Theatre International; Myra and Leura Younker Endowment Fund; NAMM Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; Newman's Own Foundation; Nordstrom; Oath Foundation; The Orlebeke Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Irene Pollin Audience Development and Community Engagement Initiatives; Prince Charitable Trusts; Pritzker Traubert Foundation; Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; Rosemary Kennedy Education Fund; Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A. J. Stolwijk; Rosenthal Family Foundation; Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation; Share Fund; Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Small; Tina and Albert Small, Jr.; The Stella Boyle Smith Trust; Target; The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates; The Volgenau Foundation; Volkswagen Group of America; Dennis & Phyllis Washington; Washington Gas; Wells Fargo; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts; and generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas.
Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts.
The content of this program may have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education but does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Watch & Listen
- 7/10/18: Concerto Finalists Concert [Millennium Stage]
- 7/15/18: 1st Orchestra Concert
- 7/18/18: Chamber Music Concert [Millennium Stage]
- 7/22/18: Chamber Music Concert [Millennium Stage]
- 7/25/18: Chamber Music Concert [Millennium Stage]
- 7/27/18: Chamber Music Concert [Millennium Stage]
- 7/29/18: 2nd Orchestra Concert