New World Symphony Fellows Launch VIA: Virtual Summer Music Academy

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New World Symphony Fellows Launch VIA: Virtual Summer Music Academy

New World Symphony Fellows Corbin Castro and Christopher Robinson today announced the launch of VIA, a virtual summer music academy supported by the New World Symphony (NWS) as part of its NWS BLUE program of Fellow-led initiatives. VIA, which stands for Virtual Inclusion Artists, seeks to engage young musicians from communities underrepresented in classical music through Zoom-based individual lessons and group classes offered over the course of a week-long, summer music intensive. VIA sessions are tailored to string, woodwind, and brass instrumentalists (grades 7-12), and are led by NWS Fellows, alumni, and guest speakers, including performance specialist Noa Kageyama (

Intensives are offered June 20-25, 2020 and June 27-July 2, 2020 and are open to a limited number of participants, who may enroll for one of the two weeks. Internet access and a web camera are required. Deadline to apply is May 29, 2020. Applicants will be notified no later than June 5, 2020 of their admission results.

VIA Co-Founders and NWS Fellows Corbin Castro (horn) and Christopher Robinson (violin) said:

We have come to believe that for many, the arts represent a pinnacle in human achievement and that access to a quality music education should be a basic right for everyone. Yet, we realize that many students around the country lack such access, and that these limitations are only exacerbated by the coronavirus shutdowns. VIA was created to empower students from remote and underrepresented communities to have access to a classical music education program that is both comprehensive and unique in its vision and scope-one that provides a path for students to realize their ambitions under the mentorship of professionals in the field.

NWS President and CEO Howard Herring said:

At the New World Symphony, a key part of our curriculum is empowering Fellows to be innovators and musical activists themselves. To that end we support numerous Fellow-led initiatives every year financially, logistically, and in terms of providing expertise and guidance. I am proud of NWS Fellows Corbin Castro and Chris Robinson, who conceived this project based on their fellowship experience and in response to a real need for greater access to music education, especially in these isolated times. I expect this pilot project to foreshadow a more inclusive, equitable distribution of high-level music education.

VIA's curriculum is tailored to each student through one-on-one discussions about goals and aspirations with VIA's Teaching Artists. Participants also enjoy classes designed for developing the whole musician, including how to find the right college, how to prepare for college, a glimpse of student life, and how to secure financial support.


  • Goal-focused mentoring sessions, instrument lessons, and creative master class settings with Teaching Artists from the New World Symphony
  • Group classes ranging from Performance Anxiety and Optimal Performance Training, to Body Mapping and Stage Presence taught by Guest Artists
  • Virtual ensemble recording, led by our Teaching Artists

Sample Day:

All days begin at 11:00 AM EDT and end at 4:00 PM EDT with lunch at 1:00 PM EDT

11:00 AM - Warm Up Session with Teaching Artist
12:00 PM - Body Mapping Session with Guest Artist
1:00 PM - Partnered Lunch Activity with Students
2:00 PM - College Pathways Discussion with Guest Artist
3:00 PM - Sectional Masterclass with Teaching Artist

VIA is generously supported by Dorothy Terrell as part of a gift to create the New World Symphony College Track Mentorship Program.

For press inquiries contact Kathleen Drohan at 917-309-3100 or


Corbin Castro, horn
Corbin Castro is a second-year Horn Fellow at the New World Symphony. He has most recently performed as an extra/substitute horn with the Houston Grand Opera and Naples Philharmonic.

Mr. Castro has had the pleasure of spending his summers making music with the Verbier Festival in southern Switzerland, Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. While participating in these ensembles he performed under the direction of artists such as Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Andris Nelsons and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

In addition to performing, Mr. Castro proudly maintains a teaching studio where he works with the next generation of performers to find their own passion and reach their full potential. Recently, he performed with the JUMP outreach program in Houston, as part of a wind chamber group that worked with students from schools that lacked funding for music education.

Mr. Castro received his master's degree from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with William VerMeulen and a bachelor's degree from the Manhattan School of Music studying with Michelle Baker. Outside of horn playing, he enjoys experiencing new cultures through international travel and backpacking in national parks.

Christopher Robinson, violin
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Christopher Robinson is a third-year Violin Fellow in the New World Symphony. Mr. Robinson recently held the role of Concertmaster for the Cleveland Opera Theater, while leading performances of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. He has also performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Jacksonville Symphony. Mr. Robinson recently recorded John Adams' Harmonielehre under the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero for the NAXOS label. His music festival performances include the Aspen Music Festival and School, Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, China, and the Mozarteum Summer Music Academy in Salzburg, Austria. Mr. Robinson is currently on faculty at the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival during the summers. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Robinson has been featured in the Tuesday Musical Association at the Akron Art Museum performing premieres of contemporary chamber music. He studied chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Cavani, Ariel, Muir, American, Arianna and Great Wall string quartets.

Mr. Robinson began studying the violin at age 10 with Gloria Spurlock, and later continued violin studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with Kurt Sassmannshaus, earning his bachelor of music degree in 2015. Most recently, he earned his master of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying under Joan Kwuon. Other teachers and mentors have included Alex Kerr, Cornelia Heard, Brittany MacWilliams, Alan Rafferty, among many others.

Passionate about teaching and community engagement, Mr. Robinson served as a Violin Coach and mentor for Carnegie Hall's 2018 and 2019 NYO2 program. Mr. Robinson was also director of the Sassmannshaus Tradition from 2014-15. The Sassmannshaus Tradition is a beginning string program in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Pre-college where he also taught violin lessons, chamber music, ear training and music theory. Other teaching engagements include visiting violin facutly at the Iberacademy in Medellín, Colombia and masterclasses for Nashville Symphony's Accelerando Program.

As an outdoorsman and Eagle Scout, Mr. Robinson enjoys cycling, backpacking, hiking, kayaking and canoeing. During the summer of 2015, he joined his family on a 221-mile backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Mr. Robinson most recently summited Mt. Fuji in Japan and hopes to continue exploring the vast landscapes our world has to offer.


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