Friday, May 25, 2018

National Alliance for Audition Support to Launch with Audition Intensive June 6-8

Eighteen Black and Latinx Pre- and Early Professional String Players  
to Participate in Group and Individual Performance Psychology Sessions, Instrument Lessons and Mock Auditions
Violinist Alex Kerr, Cellist Joy Payton-Stevens, Violist Edward Gazouleas and
Performance Psychologist Noa Kageyama, Ph.D. 
to Lead Audition Intensive

New York, NY (May 24, 2018) – The National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS) will launch its first activities aimed at increasing diversity in American orchestras with a three-day Audition Intensive, June 6-8 at the New World Center in Miami Beach, FL. Eighteen pre-to-early professional Black and Latinx string musicians have been selected by The Sphinx Organization to participate in the three-day Intensive.
The Audition Intensive will give participants the opportunity to work in group and individual settings with professional musicians who understand the audition process. Sessions will include peak performance psychology training, mock auditions, and individual lessons. The mock audition jury is comprised of the professional musicians. They will provide specific feedback for each Audition Intensive participant. 
"New World Symphony has crafted an effective audition preparation process," said NWS President Howard Herring. "It hones specific skills: intellectual focus, preparation time management, emotional stability, aesthetic and technical confidence, and steady nerves. We are eager to make this training available through the NAAS program."
Ismar Gomes, a cellist that will be participating in the Audition Intensive, said "The opportunity to work intensely with outstanding coaches who regularly sit on audition committees for major orchestras will be extremely valuable, not to mention the benefits of exploring the psychological dimension of the audition process. My hope is that this Audition Intensive will help propel me to greater successes on the audition circuit and more broadly as a performer."
Faculty for the Audition Intensive include Edward Gazouleas, Professor of Viola at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; Alex Kerr, Concertmaster of Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Violin at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; Joy Payton-Stevens, cellist at the Seattle Symphony and co-founder / cellist at BetaSounds; and Noa Kageyama, Ph.D, founder of Bulletproof Musician and faculty member at The Juilliard School.
The Audition Intensive will end with a faculty panel—a session in which the three instrumental faculty will discuss the audition process, their own careers, and answer any questions from the participants.
For this first NAAS Audition Intensive, the eighteen Black and Latinx musicians were selected from the most recent Sphinx Orchestral Partners Auditions (SOPA), held during the annual SphinxConnect conference in Detroit.  SOPA brings together orchestras interested in advancing diversity in their institutions with a qualified pool of talented orchestral musicians of color, the ultimate goal being job placement. For future Audition Intensives, musicians will be selected through a competitive application process open to a range of musicians—from recent conservatory graduates to early- and mid-career professionals seeking to advance their careers.
Subsequent NAAS events will occur at the League of American Orchestras' 73rd National Conference June 13-15 in Chicago, in the Fall at the New World Center, and in January 2019 at the annual SphinxConnect conference in Detroit.
The National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS) is an unprecedented national initiative to increase diversity in American orchestras. It will do so by offering Black and Latinx musicians a customized combination of mentoring, audition preparation, financial support, and audition previews. The NAAS is made up of The Sphinx Organization, the lead program and fiscal administrator for the Alliance; the New World Symphony,  America's Orchestral Academy; and the League of American Orchestras, representing 700 orchestras. A group of Black and Latinx professional musicians will be thought leaders, guides, and advisors for the Alliance. The NAAS is supported by a four-year grant of $1.8M from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as contributions from orchestras across the U.S. Learn more at
Find more information, including faculty bios, at (click on the Audition Intensive tab in the middle of the page).

The Sphinx Organization is a Detroit-based, national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Sphinx programs reach more than 100,000 students, as well as live and broadcast audiences of more than two million annually. Sphinx works to create positive change in the arts field and in communities across the country through a variety of programs organized into four main principles: Education and Access, Artist Development, Performing Artists and Arts Leadership. Read more about Sphinx's programs at
The New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), prepares graduates of music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. In the 30 years since its co-founding by Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison, NWS has helped launch the careers of more than 1,000 alumni worldwide. A laboratory for the way music is taught, presented and experienced, the New World Symphony consists of 87 young musicians who are granted fellowships lasting up to three years. The fellowship program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, professional development training and personalized experiences working with leading guest conductors, soloists and visiting faculty. Relationships with these artists are extended through NWS' extensive distance learning via the internet. NWS Fellows take advantage of the innovative performance facilities and state-of-the art practice and ensemble rooms of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, the campus of the New World Symphony. Learn more about the New World Symphony at
The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America's orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit

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