Young Artist Program

The Birdfoot Festival’s Young Artist Program gives young musicians the chance to “be in the driver’s seat.” Guided by international-caliber musicians and working with a small group of your peers, the Young Artist Program empowers you to make musical decisions and develop your musical voice. Through a series of chamber music coachings, workshops, masterclasses, and performance opportunities, you will expand your musical abilities, imagination, and leadership skills. 

Young Artist Program participants have gone on to study music at Harvard, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Peabody Conservatory, among others.

How does it work?

  1. You may apply and participate in the program either as an individual or with a pre-formed ensemble put together by you or your teacher (e.g. a string quartet, woodwind quintet, piano trio, string duo, etc). If you apply as an individual, we will, whenever possible, place you in an ensemble with other young musicians of a similar age and level. 
  2. If you or a member of your ensemble is new to the program, you must participate in an introductory workshop on December 18, 2019 so that we can get to know you (and/or your ensemble).
  3. Your ensemble will be matched with a superb teacher-mentor and will communicate directly with your teacher-mentor and other members of your ensemble to schedule twice-monthly coachings between January–May (10 in total).
  4. All ensembles will participate in a workshop in March. Ensembles are encouraged to participate in NOLA ChamberFest (April 4, 2020) which provides an inspiring and constructive competition as well as masterclasses and feedback. More information is available on the NOLA ChamberFest website.
  5. All ensembles participate in a masterclass with Birdfoot Festival musicians, selected ensembles may be invited to perform in showcase concerts before Birdfoot Festival events, and all groups will play a final concert on May 30, 2020.

Young Artist Program teacher-mentors include both Birdfoot Artists and local professional musicians. Teacher-mentors are chosen for their outstanding teaching and ability to communicate their love of chamber music.

Private teachers of participating Young Artists are recognized in the Birdfoot Festival concert program.

Curious  to learn more?

• View the mini-documentary about Birdfoot’s Young Artist Program and why it has been an integral part of Birdfoot’s programming since the festival’s very first season.

• Read more about Birdfoot’s Young Artists Program in this feature article in The New Orleans Advocate here.

• Listen to an interview with a Young Artist Program coach and view a photo essay on the Young Artist Program by New Orleans photographer Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee here.

What does it cost?

The program’s application fee is $25 which includes the mandatory (for new program applicants) December 18, 2019 workshop. Tuition for the full program is $350/student (contact the Birdfoot office to request a need-based scholarship or arrange a payment plan). In addition to twice-monthly coachings, workshops, and masterclasses, participating Young Artists receive free admission to all Birdfoot Festival concerts and interact with Birdfoot artists as VIP guests for the 2019 Birdfoot Festival concerts on May 29, 30, 31 and, June 1, 2019.

How to apply for the 2019–2020 Young Artist Program:

The Young Artist Program is open to advanced high school-age musicians. Exceptional younger musicians and undergraduate ensembles are occasionally accepted.

Both individual musicians and pre-formed chamber ensembles (duos, piano trios, string quartets, woodwind or brass quintets, etc.) are invited to apply for the Young Artist Program. Individual applicants, whenever possible, will be placed in an ensemble with other musicians of similar age and level, which will work together throughout the year.

  1. Submit your registration and application fee using the links below by the end of Monday, December 16, 2019.
  2. Ensembles and individuals who are new to the program must participate in the December 18, 2019 Workshop. Participants will prepare a very short movement of chamber music (which will be sent to you upon receipt of your registration) that will be explored during the workshop. Pre-formed ensembles may also bring repertoire that they are learning. Please contact the Birdfoot Festival if you have questions about repertoire and musical level.

Workshop participants will be notified soon after the workshop if they are accepted into the full program. Upon acceptance, Young Artists will participate in two coachings per month with this program’s resident teaching artists, a subsequent workshop (March 2019, date and location to be announced) and a masterclass with Birdfoot Festival Artists (May 24), Showcase Concerts before Birdfoot Festival concerts (May 27 or 29 by audition), and a final concert for all program participants (6 PM on May 30).


Step 1: Fill out and submit your December Young Artists Program online application form by midnight on Monday, December 16, 2019. Note that each member of ensembles must submit their own application and fee.


Step 2: Submit application fee ($25 per student) by the end of Monday, December 16, 2019 online:

Pay application fee online