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 since its inception.


Launched in September 2014, the partnership has included New York Philharmonic performances in China, as well as intensive instruction by Philharmonic musicians at the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA), established through the partnership. On occasion select SOA students have come to New York City to perform with the Philharmonic in the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer. From 2020 through 2022, when travel was impossible because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Philharmonic engaged with SOA through a series of virtual activities: NY Phil musicians reviewed audition tapes for the next class to matriculate at SOA, gave lessons and lectures, and led master classes.

In July 2023, the partnership resumes in-person events for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Following the New York Philharmonic’s Tour to Taiwan & Hong Kong, also Presented by Starr International Foundation, a delegation of Philharmonic musicians travel to Shanghai for two chamber music concerts, as part of Shanghai’s Music in the Summer Air (MISA) festival, and educational activities at SOA, including attendance at the 2023 commencement ceremony.

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 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.

Other 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

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Starr International Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic’s Tour to Taiwan & Hong Kong and the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Partnership.

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