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Alex Lacamoire, Tom Kitt and More Featured in New York Youth Symphony's 20/21 Musical Theater Songwriting Program

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Applications for the 2020/2021 Season are Now Open

Alex Lacamoire, Tom Kitt and More Featured in New York Youth Symphony's 20/21 Musical Theater Songwriting Program

New York Youth Symphony has announced the third season of its Musical Theater Songwriting Program. Led by director Anna K. Jacobs, and in partnership with the Harlem School of the Arts, New York Film Academy, New York Songspace, and Maestra, the program is specially designed to lead students through a range of musical theater songwriting processes. Whether their background is as a classical composer, singer-songwriter, performer, writer, or some cool hyphenate, the program provides students ages 12 - 22 with the opportunity to both study the fundamentals of musical theater songwriting and take artistic risks. Weekly sessions will feature seminars, workshops, and masterclasses with some of Broadway's most distinguished composers, writers, performers, musicians, producers, directors, and designers. Throughout the year, students will also have the unique opportunity to workshop new material with performers from the Harlem School of the Arts and New York Film Academy, as well as a Broadway pit band.

This season will feature guest lecturers including Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and orchestrator Tom Kitt (Next To Normal, If/Then), Obie Award-winning composer/lyricist and playwright Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Bella: An American Tall Tale), Tony and Grammy Award-winning music director and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen), Tony-nominated director Leigh Silverman (Violet), producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper (Be More Chill, Broadway Bounty Hunter, Love In Hate Nation), orchestrator Kris Kukul (Beetlejuice), costume designer Amy Clark (A Night with Janice Joplin, Chaplin), and composer and orchestrator Mike Pettry (The Light Princess, The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes, Vampirina). Guest performers include Austin Scott (Hamilton, Girl From The North Country), Will Roland (Dear Evan Hansen, Be More Chill), Britney Coleman (Tootsie, Sunset Boulevard), and L Morgan Lee (A Strange Loop).

The students' original works will be showcased at a final concert at Joe's Pub on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm performed by the NYYS students themselves, plus students from the Harlem School of the Arts and the New York Film Academy.

Director Anna K. Jacobs said, "We are excited to be able to move forward with our next season despite a global pandemic! We have a star-studded line up of guest speakers and performers, and I look forward to the works our 20/21 cohort will produce."

Through weekly, 3-hour sessions participating students will develop skills in story and character creation, lyric writing, music composition and arranging, music publishing and production, and collaboration. The NYYS MTS program will help students develop confidence performing and presenting original work and give an exclusive window into the professional musical theater world. Students will discover how different musical theater artists have carved out a career for themselves, and ultimately become part of a creative, supportive, and inclusive community of young artists. Fall and Winter sessions will be held online via Zoom through February 2021. Spring sessions will be held in accordance with health and safety recommendations from the CDC. For more information on the NYYS MTS program please visit

Students who are accepted into the NYYS MTS program will also be eligible to apply for one of ten Vargas-Vetter/Ukena fellowships which offer financial assistance and mentors to young musicians as they prepare for college and beyond. For more information, please visit

Applications for the 2020/2021 Season are now open. Aspiring songwriters ages 12-22 may apply at The application deadline is 5:00pm EST on Friday, Sept 25, 2020. Applications submitted after this deadline will be accepted on a rolling basis at the discretion of the NYYS staff.

Founded in 1963, the NYYS is internationally recognized for its award-winning and innovative educational programs for talented young musicians. As the premier independent music education organization for ensemble training in the New York metropolitan area, the NYYS has provided over 7,000 music students unparalleled opportunities to perform at world-class venues including Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe's Pub, and The Times Center, and to study with world-renowned artists. Beyond the instruction from accomplished musicians, students gain valuable life skills - commitment, discipline, focus, collaboration - and friendships that last a lifetime.

The NYYS is committed to making its educational offerings accessible to a wider and more diverse community. Through partnerships with organizations including the Harmony Program, Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's Harlem School of the Arts, New York Film Academy, New York SongSpace, Maestra, and Orpheus, the NYYS is creating pathways for young people from all backgrounds to find their way to music. These community partnerships include peer-to-peer instruction, financial support, mentorships with professional artists, free community concerts, and more.

Executive Director Shauna Quill noted, "The New York Youth Symphony is proud of its 58-year history of providing outstanding music education to students through its six outstanding programs. COVID-19 will not slow us down! Through a combination of smaller ensemble rehearsals, and online seminars and instruction, we are committed to providing outstanding education to all of our students this season. We are broadening access to the arts through our partnerships across the city as well as through fellowships which support students as they navigate the pathway towards college and beyond. We are grateful to all of our supporters as we navigate this pandemic together, including the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and more, and look forward to returning to stages around the city as soon as we are able."

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