Fellowship Overview

Statement of Purpose

The New World Symphony is dedicated to the artistic, personal and professional development of outstanding instrumentalists. The NWS fellowship program provides graduates of music programs the opportunity to enhance their musical education with the finest professional training. A laboratory for musical education and expression, the New World Symphony, through a wide range of performance and instructional activities, seeks to develop in participants the full complement of skills and qualifications required of 21st-century first class musicians. Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, the program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, with the active involvement of leading guest conductors, soloists and coaches. The relationships with these artists are extended through NWS’ pioneering experimentation with distance learning via Internet2.

About the New World Symphony

The New World Symphony has gained an international reputation for the quality and style of its multifaceted performances. Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, the New World Symphony regularly performs to sold-out halls. The New World Symphony fellowship program consists of an in-depth course of performance and instructional activities designed to expand the musical and professional horizons of NWS Fellows. The New World Symphony’s 2019-20 academic season will begin in early September 2019 and extend until early May 2020
NWS is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. 

Orchestral Activities

Performance and Musicianship

Over the course of 35 weeks, NWS presents a full season of orchestral performances at the New World Center in Miami Beach and the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. NWS also holds frequent reading sessions of major orchestral repertoire to provide its Fellows with additional exposure to this literature. NWS annually presents a weeklong Baroque music project with diverse programs of orchestral, chamber, vocal and dance music, offering NWS Fellows the opportunity for in-depth study of Baroque performance practice with renowned period-practice specialists. In addition to the frequent presentation of 20th- and 21st-century music on chamber and orchestral programs, a series of three performances are dedicated exclusively to contemporary repertoire for orchestra and ensembles of varying size.

Chamber Music

NWS Fellows are afforded multiple opportunities to study and perform chamber music. Among these is a season-long series of performances by NWS Fellows together with leading chamber music artists. Chamber music activities also include a series of Percussion Consorts and the innovative Musical Xchange series, which serves as a vehicle for the development of public speaking and stage presence skills. At these casual, somewhat improvisatory events musicians speak informally from the stage. Lighting, audio and video effects and props are often used to add immediacy and atmosphere. Musical Xchanges offer a variety of solo and small ensemble repertoire and Fellows work with a drama coach or stage director in creating and developing their presentations. Musicians’ Forums afford NWS Fellows valuable experience in concert promotion and production. An exciting part of the South Beach scene, Musicians’ Forums programs have included solo, chamber and chamber orchestra repertoire, as well as Fellows’ own jazz, rock and pop compositions.

Concerto Competition and Solo Recital Series

Each season NWS Fellows take the spotlight performing as soloists in two types of programs. Winners of NWS’ annual concerto competition perform center stage with the orchestra in a Concerto Showcase program. Fellows may also compete for a chance to perform a recital in the Solo Spotlight series. Taking place in the New World Center’s SunTrust Pavilion, these intimate presentations allow Fellows to conceive and design their own content and structure.


The New World Symphony has performed around the world, appearing on tour in such prestigious venues as New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, London’s Barbican Centre, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Opéra Comique, Bastille Opera and Cité de la Musique, Rome’s Santa Cecilia and the Vienna Konzerthaus. Such tours accustom NWS Fellows to maintaining peak levels of performance in the face of intensive travel and performance schedules, and are designed to include vital training components.

Visiting Faculty

Each season more than 100 instrumental coaches visit NWS in brief instructional residencies, offering an intensive schedule of master classes and private lessons. In addition, these coaches regularly participate in the preparation of performance repertoire, lead sectional rehearsals, coach within ensemble settings and play side-by-side with NWS Fellows in rehearsal. On occasion, a team of principal players from a top-rank professional orchestra participates in a coaching residency, lending a cohesive approach to the development of ensemble and musical style. An intensive four-day audition preparation seminar, involving visiting coaches from major orchestras, is held each year consisting of a series of audition training exercises and private audition coaching, as well as a panel discussion of the audition process from the perspective of the orchestra audition committee. In addition, Fellows organize monthly mock auditions intended to replicate the conditions of professional orchestra auditions, with the occasional participation of guest conductors and coaches. To assist Fellows in achieving optimal performance in audition and performance settings, NWS presents an annual series of workshops with psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama. His groundbreaking work with NWS Fellows includes individual training and group exercises.

Distance Learning

To enhance the experiences for our Fellows, the New World Symphony has pioneered the use of Distance Learning technologies. Fellows give and receive lessons, work with composers and share musical insights with specialists in related fields using the most advanced online communication tools.

Recordings and Broadcasts

The recording studio is an important component of professional orchestral life and NWS Fellows gain invaluable exposure to the challenges and demands of the medium. The New World Symphony has produced a catalog of eight recordings for the BMG Classics, London/Argo and CRI labels, receiving a Grammy nomination for Tangazo, Music of Latin America. NWS Fellows also gain experience in appearing before television cameras in both performance and interviews. In addition to such projects as the PBS telecast Beethoven Alive!, NWS has been profiled by CBS’s Sunday Morning and London’s South Bank Show and has appeared with pop star Gloria Estefan in a special for Univision. NWS Fellows have also been featured on CNN’s Showbiz Today, NBC’s Today Show and on John Adams’ profile in The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. With the opening of the New World Center, WALLCAST™ concerts, Presented by Citi, are broadcast on the exterior of the building allowing our audience to experience select events throughout the season at SoundScape Park through a striking use of visual and audio technology on a soaring, 7,000-square-foot projection wall.

Community and Audience Engagement

At NWS, Fellows have the opportunity to engage with community members, audience members, board members and donors. NWS offers training in these areas which combined with hands-on experience creates a powerful learning experience. Both inside and outside of the New World Center, Community Engagement is an essential part of the New World Symphony fellowship. Throughout the course of their time at NWS, Fellows develop engagement skills to interact with community members of diverse backgrounds. Community Engagement programs act as learning experiences for Fellows, members of the South Florida community and beyond. The array of educational offerings provides families, students, teachers, adults and seniors opportunities to learn about and experience classical music. Training includes workshops, lectures, online lessons and one-on-one or small group coachings. Fellows practice their skills in the concert hall, schools, community spaces and online. Fellows engage with audiences before, during and after their performances through a variety of mediums. These opportunities exist in conjunction with many aspects of performance, such as WALLCAST™ concerts, Presented by Citi, Kids and Education Concerts, Solo Spotlights, Inside the Music, Percussion Consort, Musical Xchange and Musicians’ Forums. Specialists in communication and stage-presence regularly coach Fellows. As patrons are often the lifeblood of financial stability at any U.S. cultural institution, NWS Fellows have the opportunity to work with our development, marketing and communications departments to more fully understand the roles these departments play in supporting an orchestral institution. In their future careers, they may need to know how artists can make a meaningful difference in fundraising efforts. Throughout the season, Fellows will be requested to perform and speak at various patron events and support both acquisition and stewardship activities. In the course of all types of engagement work, NWS utilizes technology to help bridge geographical distance. Fellows will use Distance Learning technology to connect with students outside of South Florida as well as to interact with visiting faculty. Working with the Community Engagement and Communications departments, Fellows will have the chance to develop social media and entrepreneurial skills to engage with students, audience members and patrons alike.


In this changing environment of classical music, it has become essential for musicians to be entrepreneurial, whether part of an ensemble or as a freelancer. NWS has created a series of sessions designed to provide the basics of the music business taught by experts from the field and prestigious universities. There are Fellow-driven concerts to allow for application of the skills learned and there is support for ventures, live and online, that will cultivate the appreciation of classical music or create new ways to connect with audiences. The digital world is pervasive throughout this area of concentration as a means of communication, marketing and building online communities. The goal of Entrepreneurship is to give Fellows the skills needed in their professional career to be valuable members of committees in their ensembles or to give them an understanding of what is required if they should want to start their own ventures.


NWS’ leadership curriculum is part of entrepreneurism preparing Fellows to be self-confident, deliberate, influential “artist-leaders” in whatever they pursue, including as members of orchestras and ensembles. The curriculum is designed with the following beliefs in mind:

  • The artist’s voice and influence is an essential element in helping to shape a vibrant future for orchestras
  • Musicians can influence both formally and informally in a wide variety of ways if they possess the skills to do so
  • Musicians with strong leadership skills are more likely to be successful advocates, entrepreneurs and influencers
  • During the course of the season different learning formats and varied formats are utilized in which Fellows will acquire and practice skills in peer leadership, facilitation, negotiation, committee work, conflict resolution, building influence, managing people and networking.

Distance Performance

Through the use of advanced multimedia technology, the New World Symphony has been actively exploring collaborative performance over great distances. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in, as well as create groundbreaking performances that leverage these technologies and connect performers located in different cities both in the U.S. and across the globe.

Fellowship Benefits 

New World Symphony fellowships are awarded on a season-to-season basis for up to three seasons. The package of fellowship benefits outlined below is offered to allow Fellows to fully benefit from the extensive array of educational and performance activities offered by NWS. The NWS fellowship program is in no way to be considered as professional employment. The benefits described are current as of the printing of this brochure and are subject to change.


NWS Fellows receive a living allowance, referred to as a stipend, during the NWS academic program season. The weekly stipend is intended to cover basic living expenses aside from the NWS-provided housing. All Fellows receive a weekly stipend of $500. Fellows who join NWS after the beginning of the season receive a stipend from their first day of participation in the program.

Travel Grant

New Fellows receive a one-time travel grant of $350. This grant is intended to assist new fellows with their relocation expenses. 

Fellowship Housing

The New World Symphony owns and operates a complex of residences in Miami Beach. These beautifully appointed apartments serve as housing for NWS Fellows. A large furnished studio or one-bedroom apartment with central air-conditioning, private bath, kitchen facilities and private washer/dryer is provided to each Fellow. The residences are located less than a mile from both the beach and the New World Center. The complex features a spacious patio area, outdoor pool, grilling area, indoor recreation area with large-screen TV and on-street parking as well as interior bicycle parking. Pets of any kind are not permitted. A onetime security deposit of $250 is deducted from the stipend of all new Fellows (in increments of $25). This deposit is held until the Fellow, upon leaving the New World Symphony, has vacated the apartment in a satisfactory manner, at which time the deposit (with accrued interest, less any deductions for damage) is returned to the Fellow.

Time-Off Policy

NWS Fellows periodically need to take time off for auditions and to participate in other activities intended to enhance their professional development. A Fellow may take time off at any time subject to approval by NWS. The exceptions to this policy are periods of critical artistic importance (e.g., preparing for and producing recordings and tours), known as “blackout” periods. All NWS Fellows may take up to three occasions per season for auditions without loss of stipend. Fellows may also use one of these audition time-off periods to pursue a significant non-paying performance activity or career-development opportunity outside NWS (e.g., to appear as a soloist with another orchestra). Fellows may also take additional time off (without stipend) for professional engagements and auditions in excess of three per season subject to the approval of the Provost.

Health Insurance

All Fellows are required to carry a health insurance plan. In addition, NWS Fellows are covered for $10,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance and up to $2,500 in medical insurance for accidents that occur during, or while traveling to and from, any scheduled NWS activity in the Miami area.

Instrument Insurance

The New World Symphony, through a policy with Frank Crystal & Company, covers the cost of insuring each Fellow’s primary instrument (e.g., violin and bow; trumpet and mouthpiece). If appropriate, the New World Symphony also covers the cost of insuring a Fellow’s auxiliary instrument (e.g., piccolo, English horn, E-flat or bass clarinet, flugelhorn or cornet). Fellows may purchase coverage for additional instruments for $35 per instrument per year. The policy provides full coverage at all times anywhere in the world.

Instrument Loans

The New World Symphony has a limited pool of funds available to extend low-interest loans of up to $10,000 to Fellows for the purchase of new instruments. Full details are available upon request.

Student Loan Deferments

Fellows may be eligible for student loan deferment during their period of participation in the New World Symphony.

Health and Wellness

NWS teaches its Fellows how to have a long and healthy career in music. Instruction in Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and Yoga help to ensure physical health and sessions with a performance psychologist and meditation/hypnosis practitioner aid Fellows with the considerable stress they experience in the rigorous audition process for orchestras and in performing live onstage many times per week. Sessions are held with leading orchestra musicians (often NWS Alumni) on how to succeed in the quest for tenure and advice given on how to effectively use, and not abuse, social media. Counseling is also provided for substance abuse and a healthy diet is stressed as an important factor of success.

Audio Engineering and Library Fellowships

In conjunction with its musician training program, the New World Symphony offers fellowship programs for an audio engineer and an orchestra librarian. These programs offer extensive hands-on experience in each of their chosen professions. Fellows work with Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS staff and noted professionals in these fields to develop their skills and are invited to participate on a season-by-season basis. For detailed information on the application process, please visit our admission page or email

Conducting Fellowship

The New World Symphony offers a conducting fellowship on a season-by-season basis to highly qualified conductors who have finished at least a bachelor’s degree and are not currently enrolled in a degree program. The Conducting Fellow works with Michael Tilson Thomas and many visiting guest conductors and leads the New World Symphony in several of the season’s concerts and reading sessions. For detailed information on the application process, please visit our admission page or email

Piano Fellowship

Each season, the New World Symphony offers performance and study opportunities to two Piano Fellows which include orchestral and chamber music performances, touring, recordings and collaborative and solo playing opportunities. In addition, pianists receive lessons from visiting soloists and accompany master classes given by distinguished instrumentalists who work with NWS throughout the season. The application procedure for piano fellowships is the same as all orchestral instruments and is detailed on the our admission page.

Carnival Corporation & PLC Knight Foundation The Kovner Foundation City of Miami Beach Miami-Dade County Yamaha Artist Services Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Baptist Health South Florida