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 six years.


The Philharmonic regrets that its annual performances and other activities in China could not take place in the summers of 2020 and 2021 in order to protect its audience, musicians, and employees from COVID-19.

Despite the inability to travel, this year the New York Philharmonic participated through a series of virtual activities. Throughout the 2020–21 season the Orchestra’s musicians reviewed audition tapes for the next class to matriculate at SOA, gave lessons and lectures, and led master classes. It all culminates in the second consecutive virtual graduation ceremony in July 2021.

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.

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 United States. 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.

Past highlights include:

2015 — 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
2020 — a virtual side-by-side performance by Philharmonic musicians and SOA students of a selection from the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathétique, as well as online master classes and broadcasts of chamber collaborations
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.

* Deceased