The Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Partnership is a joint endeavor of the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Starr International Foundation has been the Presenting Sponsor of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Partnership for five years.

Launched in September 2014, the partnership includes annual New York Philharmonic appearances in China — with the most recent, in 2019, including a return to Shanghai’s Music in the Summer Air (MISA) festival for two performances, plus the Orchestra’s debuts in Guangzhou and Nanjing. While in Shanghai, there was intensive instruction by Philharmonic musicians at the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA), established through the partnership.

Shanghai Orchestra Academy

The SOA is a two-year, post-graduate program designed to address the need for advanced orchestral training in China. New York Philharmonic musicians travel to Shanghai four times each season for master classes, coachings, mock auditions, and seminars. It is a joint effort of the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory and under the leadership of founding president Long Yu.

Classes include Orchestra Performance, Chamber Music, and Musicianship Skills for Orchestral Performance. Highly qualified students may have the opportunity to play with musicians from the New York Philharmonic in Shanghai, or as New York Philharmonic Zarin Mehta Fellows in New York City. The most recent group of Zarin Mehta Fellows came to New York in June 2018 and participated in the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer.

The SOA provides different levels of scholarships to all of its students, and graduates receive a Master of Fine Arts in Orchestral Performance.

Admission is open to student instrumentalists from around the globe; SOA students have previously been trained in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, and the US. The SOA graduated its first class on July 5, 2016.

For information about application and auditions, fees, scholarships, and more, visit


New York Philharmonic Performances

In the summer of 2019 Jaap van Zweden conducted all of the Philharmonic’s performances, June 27–July 3, featuring masterpieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Shostakovich. He also led a side-by-side rehearsal with SOA students joining the Orchestra. The Philharmonic also presented a Very Young Composers workshop in Shanghai, and gave concerts, led by Jaap van Zweden, in Guangzhou and Nanjing.

Highlights of past visits include:

2015 — superstar Joshua Bell, in an all-American program, and Emanuel Ax, plus the opening of the Chamber Hall
2016 — a live-to-film performance of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, Daniil Trifonov as soloist, and the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet in a free outdoor concert
2017 — the Asian Premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s The Jungle (Symphony No. 4) and a performance by Yefim Bronfman
2018 — Jaap van Zweden’s first Philharmonic appearances in Shanghai, including concerts saluting past Music Directors Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler
Several — Very Young Composers workshops and performances, plus Young People’s Concerts hosted by Dashan

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Starr International Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic–Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Partnership.

Additional support is provided by Shirley Young / US-China Cultural Foundation, The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation, Inc., an anonymous donor, and other gifts.

Major support for Very Young Composers is provided by Susan and Elihu Rose.