Fellowship Overview

Statement of Purpose

The New World Symphony (NWS) 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, NWS, through a wide range of performance and instructional activities, seeks to develop in participants the full complement of skills and qualifications required of musician leaders and agents of change. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Laureate 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. NWS provides opportunities for Fellows to create their own performance opportunities and projects.

About the New World Symphony

The New World Symphony has gained an international reputation for the quality and style of its multifaceted performances. NWS regularly performs to sold-out halls and its fellowship program consists of an in-depth course of performance and instructional activities designed to expand the musical and professional horizons of NWS Fellows. NWS is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. 

NWS divides its curriculum into three areas of concentration: Performance and Musicianship, Community and Audience Engagement, and Leadership and Professional Development.

Performance and Musicianship

When it comes to performance, NWS encourages open experimentation.  As a Fellow, you will be performing with an exceptional orchestra, and work with an international roster of conductors and soloists, including ten weeks each season with Michael Tilson Thomas. In addition, there are many opportunities for solo and chamber music performance, and you will be able to produce unique concert experiences with other Fellows.  Also, over 100 of the world’s best orchestral musicians and experts in the field visit each year as faculty.

Community and Audience Engagement

NWS Fellows actively engage with audiences and communities in Miami, across the U.S. and around the world. Some Fellows like to teach in nearby schools, others create content for NWS’s social media platforms while still others design entire educational concerts and learning experiences for families, local institutions and charities.

Community and Audience Engagement is broken down into the following four areas:

  1. In the Hall

At NWS, Fellows have multiple opportunities to engage with audiences in the hall before, during and after their performances through pre-concert chats, spoken communication from the stage, video presentations, technological innovations involving audience participation, lighting design, post-concert talkbacks and audience surveys. These opportunities exist in conjunction with all chamber music series, such as Solo Spotlights, Inside the Music, Percussion Consort and Musicians’ Forums. Specialists in communication and stage-presence training will be scheduled to coach those Fellows who take part in these series and generally advise and train Fellows in matters of communication skills, stage presence and onstage commentary.

  1. In the Community

NWS provides a comprehensive array of Community Engagement programs, which include group instruction to students in Miami-Dade public schools, interactive chamber music presentations to audiences of all ages, online mentorship and coaching, and participation in numerous collaborative student ensembles. These programs help Fellows improve their public speaking and teaching skills, while also providing profound services to the greater South Florida community and beyond. NWS is dedicated to helping Fellows expand their horizons, expand their humanity and participate without reservation.

Fellows will have a chance to work with visiting faculty members to develop the skills necessary for their CE participation. Throughout the season there will be opportunities to gain practical experience and to participate in regularly scheduled events such as instrument zoos, rehearsal observation greetings and in NWS’s annual Side-by-Side auditions and concert.

All Fellows choose an area of most interest to them and share in the distribution of outreach responsibilities.

  1. Digital Engagement

At NWS, Fellows learn about building websites, taking advantage of social media, creating online videos and using new technologies for collaborative performance-based work. Fellows learn how digital strategies impact how audiences are built and how artists can engage with audiences online. Fellows receive media/interview training, participate in newspaper and web interviews, learn about event promotion and media buying, and record videos promoting their own artistry as well as NWS events.

  1. Patron Engagement

NWS Fellows work with our Institutional Advancement and Audience Engagement, Research and Design departments to understand the roles they play in supporting an orchestral institution and how artists can make a meaningful difference in fundraising efforts. Additionally, Fellows are encouraged to participate in multiple forms of audience engagement throughout the season. Fellows speak from the stage during concerts, guide audiences through video presentations and interact with patrons after events. Fellows works with specialists and guest faculty members to advise and train them in matters of communication skills, stage presence and onstage commentary.  Fellows will support NWS patron stewardship efforts by participating in a selection of various patron engagement activities, which could include phone acknowledgements, written acknowledgements, pre-concert lobby greeting, patron breakfasts and luncheons, and development-led group/individual tours. At times, Fellows will be asked to play for patron engagements. Fellows may have the opportunity to attend offsite performances with patrons, attend post-concert dinners and receptions, help host donor/prospect site visits, develop programs for Friends of New World Symphony events and kids/family lectures, and act as table representatives at the gala. On occasion, Fellows are invited to attend meetings of the NWS Board of Directors and of Board committees. These occasions are intended to give Fellows a perspective on the governance of the organization and to increase interaction between them and the directors. Periodically, Fellows may be asked to speak briefly to the Board about an aspect of the NWS program. Fellows may be asked to serve on special project committees which meet to plan and produce certain projects.

Leadership and Professional Development

NWS has created a series of seminars and workshops designed to provide the basics of the music business taught by experts from the field. There are Fellow-driven concerts and projects to allow for application of the skills learned, which are supported by funding and with all the resources of NWS at their disposal. These funds may be used for performances designed to reach new audiences, community engagement, music-related business ventures and online initiatives. It is essential that these performances and projects 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 performance enhancement, communication, marketing and building online communities. NWS values the involvement of Fellows in the affairs of the organization and seeks to promote an active and constructive interaction between Fellows and other participants in the organization. NWS Fellows are encouraged to join committees that meet with staff members to ensure clear and open communications and to discuss issues of concern. These committees will meet with appropriate staff counterparts on a regular basis. The goal is to give Fellows the skills needed in their professional career to be leaders and agents of change, contributing members of their ensembles, active in their communities and to give them an understanding of what is required if they should want to start their own ventures.  

Fellows at NWS are as progressive and inventive with their ideas as they are outstanding in their musicianship.  Whatever NWS Fellows choose to pursue, they are sure to find support, guidance and more from staff members.  And this support continues as Fellows transition to alumni – our doors are always open.



NWS fellowships are awarded on a season-by-season basis for up to three years at the discretion of NWS.

Each NWS fellowship includes:

Fellowship Stipend

While attending NWS, Fellows receive a living allowance, referred to as a stipend, whenever NWS is in session (unless the Fellow has been given time off without stipend, as per the time-off policy explained in the handbook). The stipend is intended to cover basic living expenses (e.g., groceries, telephone service, optional low-cost health insurance, audition-related travel, instrument maintenance, limited entertainment and other travel and other incidental expenses), aside from NWS-provided housing.

Fellowship Housing

The New World Symphony owns and operates a housing site, which was renovated for use as residence facilities by NWS Fellows. A furnished apartment (with central air-conditioning, private bathroom and kitchen facilities) in this complex is provided to each Fellow. NWS’s housing site is administered by the Vice President of Facilities Operations and maintained by the Facilities Director along with members of the housing and facilities staff.

Travel Grant

Early in the season new NWS Fellows will receive a one-time travel grant which is intended to assist new Fellows with their re-location expenses.

Instrument Insurance

NWS covers the cost to insure each Fellow’s primary instrument. Fellows may purchase coverage through NWS’s policy for additional instruments for a cost of $35 per instrument or bow.

Wellness Support/Health and Welfare

NWS strives to apprize Fellows of health and safety issues, hazards and procedures inherent in practice, performance, teaching and listening both in general and as applicable to their specific specializations. This guidance includes but is not limited to information regarding hearing, vocal and musculoskeletal health and injury prevention, and the use, proper handling and operation of potentially dangerous materials, equipment and technology. NWS curriculum, policies, protocols and operations reflect attention to injury prevention and to the relationships among musicians’ health, the fitness and safety of equipment and technology, and the acoustic and other health-related conditions in practice, rehearsal and performance facilities.

Instrument Loans

NWS has a limited pool of funds available to extend low-interest loans to Fellows for the purchase of new instruments.

Time-Off Policy

Fellows are required to be in Miami Beach and available to participate in NWS-related activities whenever the NWS program is in session unless time-off has been requested and approved. Fellows are required to comply with the formal request and approval procedure for all absences irrespective of the schedule, instrumentation requirements and/or seating assignments for any given period. It is recognized and expected that NWS Fellows periodically need time off to take auditions and to participate in other activities intended to enhance their professional development.

Audio/Video Fellowship and Library Fellowship

In conjunction with its musician training program, the New World Symphony offers programs for an audio/video Fellow and an orchestra librarian Fellow. 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.

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