Launched in September 2014, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Partnership is a joint endeavor of the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Starr International Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor. 

The partnership includes annual New York Philharmonic performances in Shanghai, as well as the establishment of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA), a two-year post-graduate program designed to address the need for advanced orchestral training in China. Groups of Philharmonic musicians have traveled to Shanghai several times each year since 2014 to provide training, and in 2016 SOA students selected by audition traveled to New York City to train and play alongside the Orchestra in a week-long immersion in the life of an orchestral musician; another group of students traveled to New York City in June 2018. The SOA, which graduated its third class on July 5, 2018, 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.

Shanghai Orchestra Academy

Shanghai Orchestra Academy

Opened in September 2014, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) provides advanced, post-graduate orchestral training, offering classes such as 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 during its annual performances in Shanghai, or through the New York Philharmonic’s Zarin Mehta Fellowship Program in New York City.

The SOA provides different levels of scholarships to all of its students, and graduates receive a Master of Fine Arts in Orchestral Performance. New York Philharmonic musicians travel to Shanghai four times each season for master classes, coachings, mock auditions, and seminars.

SOA students are selected every other season to travel to New York City to participate in the New York Philharmonic Zarin Mehta Fellowship Program — a week-long immersion in the life of a Philharmonic musician. The most recent group of Fellows came to New York in June 2018 and participated in the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer.

Admission to the SOA is open to students from around the globe, and the student body — including violinists, violists, cellists, double bassists, flutists, clarinetists, oboists, bassoonists, horn players, trumpet players, trombonists, tuba players, and percussionists — have been trained in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, and the U.S. The SOA graduated its first class on July 5, 2016. The SOA’s third graduation ceremony was held on July 5, 2018.

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


Performances in Shanghai

Shanghai Orchestra Academy

Since 2015 the New York Philharmonic has traveled to Shanghai every summer for concerts as part of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s Music in the Summer Air (MISA) festival and activities associated with the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA), including master classes, lessons, and coaching.

The summer of 2018 marked the New York Philharmonic’s fourth visit to Shanghai as part of this Partnership. The Orchestra returned to the MISA festival for four concerts, July 1–7. Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden led the Orchestra in the 2018 MISA festival’s opening concert featuring music by Bernstein and Mahler — two of his predecessors on the Philharmonic podium — and also conducted masterpieces by Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. Bramwell Tovey led the Philharmonic’s final concert, a celebration of former Philharmonic Music Director Leonard Bernstein in his centennial year. 

Education activities in the 2018 visit included a side-by-side rehearsal of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with the New York Philharmonic joined by SOA students, and Very Young Composers of Shanghai participating in a workshop and performance. 

Highlights of the past three visits include:

2015 — superstars 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
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 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.