Application Season Extended!
The Sewanee Summer Music Festival will now be doing rolling admissions. Applications will be accepted until all positions in all studios are filled! Notices of studio availability will be posted soon. Contact the office if you have questions or concerns. Please continue to apply!
The SSMF offers an intensive program of study. Students are expected to attend the full month-long session. Rehearsal, performance, practice and study time are essentials to musical development, carefully balanced at the Festival.
The orchestral program is at the heart of the Sewanee experience. The SSMF maintains two full orchestras. Each rehearses daily and performs a program of challenging repertoire every week. In addition, the Festival Orchestra, comprised of faculty and our most advanced students, performs three times during the summer.
Sewanee Symphony, led by renowned guest conductors
Cumberland Orchestra, led by the SSMF Resident Conductor
The Sewanee Symphony, for our most advanced students, is a pre-professional ensemble introducing students to the real world of orchestra life. Some of the most demanding orchestral repertoire, along with exciting new works, is led by renowned weekly guest conductors.
The Cumberland Orchestra performs a broad range of standard and new symphonic repertoire. This orchestra provides training in the skills necessary for successful orchestra musicians—ensemble, intonation development, rhythmic precision.
Orchestral assignments are made by the faculty each week and are based on ongoing assessments of students’ strengths, educational needs, and the repertoire. Our program is highly individualized, assuring that every student gains needed experience in a variety of roles within the orchestra.
Chamber Music Study
Chamber music is at the heart of our program and more than anything sets the Sewanee experience apart. We know that the study and performance of chamber music often does more to shape the musical lives of our students than any other experience. It is in the intense laboratory of the chamber ensemble that students become mature musicians, integrating their individual part and their own musical personality into a unified whole. From duos to small chamber orchestras, string quartets and wind quintets, the unique skills developed through chamber music are found nowhere else.
Every Sewanee student is assigned to a chamber ensemble each week, working daily with a faculty coach. At the end of the week ensembles perform for the camp on Student Chamber Music night. A panel of student judges selects ensembles for one of several public performances, including weekly concerts in the Guerry Garth, a beautiful outdoor cloister near the main quadrangle of campus. “Making Garth” is a mark of distinction for young artists and a motivator for their work each week.
Through our Chamber Music Program, students learn to prepare works quickly and well, to perform confidently and comfortably, and, of course, to enjoy and learn from the performances of others.
Advanced Chamber Ensemble Scholarship Program
Students currently in a string quartet, piano quartet, wind or brass quintet are invited to apply to Sewanee as an ensemble. Ensembles selected for this program will work together for the entire summer and prepare special recital performances.
Scholarship award: $2000 per student, with the possibility of additional aid to meet exceptional need.
Duties: Students should expect 4-8 hours weekly of extra duties, including assisting faculty with sectionals and studio classes, work with students needing extra help, performing at community engagement events, etc.
Private Study and practice
All students receive a weekly private lesson with one of our artist-faculty. Faculty members work closely with their studios, and extra master classes are a frequent occurrence.
Student practice takes place during unscheduled morning and later afternoon hours. Dorm rooms are the usual practice space, with other rooms around campus available as needed. Students work with their teachers to set expectations about practice appropriate for their age and ability level.
The SSMF Piano Program emphasizes collaborative piano and is designed for advance high school and college students with good sight-reading facility and a stronginterest in chamber music. Piano students receive close attention and twice weekly lessons from SSMF faculty. All pianists spend significant time working in chamber ensembles, with frequent performing opportunities. Some perform piano parts with the orchestras. Pianists are expected to learn substantial amounts of repertoire quickly, and to perform major works each week, so significant practice time is required.
The daily schedule for pianists includes concentrated morning practice time, afternoon chamber ensemble rehearsals and coaching’s, and other classes and master classes both specific to the piano and with other SSMF students.
Secondary piano lessons are available to orchestra instrumentalists as studio space allows. Pianist who play an orchestral instrument are encouraged to play with one of the orchestras.
Extra-curricular classes are presented during the Festival and cover a wide range of topics. Classes for 2013 will include some of the following, as well as others based on student interest and faculty expertise:
Composition, including use of ProTools, Finale, and other music software
Music theory — mastering the basics
Practice tools and techniques
Career possibilities in a changing musical landscape
Typical Daily Schedule
Typical Daily Schedule
8 a.m. Yoga, Tai Chi, stretching, or studio warm-up
9-11 a.m. Cumberland Orchestra rehearsal
9:30 a.m. Sewanee Symphony rehearsal
1-3 p.m. Chamber ensemble coaching and rehearsal
3-5 p.m. Practice time, lessons, studio classes, special classes; recreation & relaxation
Evening Concerts, rehearsals, or social activities
While our daily schedule is packed with activity, we make sure to take time out for fun. One day each week is set aside for relaxation, with an optional field trip for hiking, caving, or swimming. Our Director of Residential Life plans many small activities: early morning trail runs, dorm movie nights, water balloon fights, ultimate Frisbee, and other special events our students request.
A maximum of four credit hours may be earned through the University of the South in orchestra, chamber music, and applied music. Only students already enrolled in a U.S. college or university are eligible for credit. Application for credit must be made submitted online to the SSMF cloud folder by May 31, 2013 to be registered.
Age Limit & Range:
Students from age 12 to 25 may apply to participate in the SSMF. If you are not in this age range, please contact the SSMF office to speak with an administrator and a decision can be made on your request on a case by case basis.