Chautauqua Institution

Music School Festival Orchestra

June 25 - August 16, 2016

The MSFO is a major component of the curriculum and attracts musicians from leading music programs across the United States and around the world. Timothy Muffitt, music director and conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Lansing Symphony, is the principal conductor for the six-concert series by the MSFO.

tim m 2013Each summer we enroll 80 of the most promising young instrumentalists from here and abroad to join us for an exciting summer of music making. Our students are typically 18 to 28 and enrolled in (or recently graduated from) undergraduate or graduate studies. On occasion, we do admit a high school student who is advanced enough and ready to undertake seven weeks of intensive study. There are no auditions for seating, all sections are rotated for each concert.

We consider orchestral, private lessons and chamber music each to be vital components of the instrumental program and our schedule illustrates this. The orchestra rehearses daily for the majority of the seven weeks and performs its concerts in Chautauqua’s 4,000-seat Amphitheater. Each instrumentalist receives six private lessons with a member of the faculty and is scheduled for a minimum of 12 hours of reserved practice time each week. There are 2 distinct phases of chamber music for every student to participate in. Most students are engaged by an integrated three-phase mock audition component comprising of: psychology, performance and debriefing providing priceless insight into the professional road ahead. String players should note that for much of the seven weeks there is usually a luthier on hand to assist with repairs as necessary.

"Chautauqua was such a wonderful, fun, and intense summer. The MSFO is a training ground for what to expect if you're pursuing music as a profession. The teachers are amazing, and the experience is one I will never forget"

Kathryn Bradley, double bass | Peabody Conservatory of Music

“There is no place like Chautauqua on earth. Nowhere else does one get the opportunity to interact and collaborate with outstanding musicians, ballet dancers, singers, artists and actors.”

Ben Buergel | Michigan State University

“Having attended other prestigious festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival and the Music Academy of the West, I can say that Chautauqua is truly unique. Only at Chautauqua can you sit at a lunch table with dancers, artists, actors, singers, and musicians. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration between different art forms, which has helped to strengthen my performance ability and communication skills.”

John Heffernan, violin | Northwestern University

The Music School Festival Orchestra is underwritten by the Hultquist Foundation of Jamestown, NY 

MSFO Concert Attire
Men: A black suit or tuxedo, white shirt, black bow tie and all black shoes.
Women: Black skirt/dress from floor length to within 2" of ankles and appearing long when sitting OR black full-length dressy-style pants of formal fabrics (no tight clothing, no casual fabrics such as denim) White long-sleeved or short-sleeved blouse (sleeveless blouses are NOT acceptable), Dressy all-black shoes


In 2016, the concerts are scheduled for
July 5, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 8 and August 15.

Chautauqua’s music festival is peppered with a rich master class program that caters to each individual student. During the seven-week festival over 50 public master classes will be held and all students are encouraged to attend and learn technique from masters outside of their primary study.

The David Effron Conducting Fellowship is awarded to a gifted student pursuing a career in conducting. The applicant must be enrolled in or recently graduated (within the last year) from a graduate conducting program.

Each instrumentalist receives six private lessons with a member of the faculty. Students are welcome to practice in our new air- conditioned cabins located on the campus.

Chautauqua welcomes applications from talented students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin or religious background. Admission is by application and audition for full-term students.




Sarah Malinoski-Umberger
Coordinator of
Student Services

Chautauqua Summer Schools of Fine & Performing Arts
P.O. Box 1098
1 Ames Ave.
Chautauqua, NY 14722

(716) 357-6233
fax: (716) 357-9014

The Music School Festival Orchestra is underwritten in part by the Hultquist Foundation and the Carnahan-Jackson Foundation of Jamestown, N.Y.