Now Registering for the 51st Season

Accepting auditions for most sections.  Join us for another year of musical celebrations.  Visit Third Street Music School for more information.

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Join us for the Edward & Elaine Altman Spring Concert | May 20

Join the InterSchools Orchestra for the final virtual performance of the 2020-2021 season.  The Edward & Elaine Altman concert will premiere live on Thursday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. EST at

Visit to RSVP and watch on May 20.  The event is free to view to the public.

The program will include smaller selections from ISO chamber ensembles and instrument sections.  Orchestral works will include Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Sleeping Beauty, John William's Cowboy Overture, and Sibelius's Finlandia among others.

The annual Edward & Elaine Altman Concert has been designated in honor of the Altmans to recognize their extraordinary contributions over the years and the exceptional leadership of Edward Altman as past Board President and Chairman.

Now registering for the 2021-2022 Season!


Welcome to the 50th Anniversary of the Interschool Orchestras of New York! We invite you to become a member of one of the most prestigious and historic youth orchestras in the entire country. Alumni of ISO are members of some of the greatest orchestras in the world and you could follow in their footsteps.

Our 2020-2021 season was nothing like we’d imagined it would be, but we have managed to continue having our students make music, learn from world-renowned musicians, and for the first time ever we will present our one-of-a-kind collaboration with the Mingus Dynasty at the League of American Orchestras National Conference in June. This is the first time that ISO will be featured on the national stage and we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity.

For 2021-2022, our 50th season, we will be celebrating the lives of the two people who shaped ISO into what it is today - our founder, Annabelle Prager, and our Music Director Emeritus, Jonathan Strasser. Many of our plans are still in motion, but we have some wonderful repertoire to play on numerous concerts planned for the year, including a year-end performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations in its entirety. In addition to that, we are exploring opportunities for world premieres, exciting collaborations, major concert halls, the continuation of our groundbreaking mentor program, and an entirely new series of masterclasses. Of course, the plan is that we will be live and safely in person come September, which will be a long time coming for all of us.

Registration continues throughout the spring until sections are full. ISO’s goal is to make it possible for every interested young musician to be able to participate in an ensemble, regardless of ability to pay tuition. Financial aid is based on need, and half of our students receive some level of aid.  New families can apply for financial aid and our Student Services team is here to assist. We hope that you share our excitement for the 50th anniversary celebration and we look forward to seeing you soon!


Barry Stern
Musical Director, ISO at Third Programs
[email protected]


New York, September 29, 2020 – Third Street Music School Settlement today announces that InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO) will come under its umbrella to form the largest and most expansive youth ensemble program in New York City.

With a combined 175 years of experience in music education, this partnership galvanizes the missions of both organizations to ensure access to high-quality instruction for students from all five boroughs at a time when many music programs are closed because of the pandemic.

Third Street will now offer a total of six orchestras for hundreds of students ages 8 to 18. This new orchestra program will offer generous financial assistance to students who otherwise would be unable to afford orchestral study and performance experiences.

“We are so pleased to welcome the ISO families, students and faculty to the Third Street community,” said Valerie G. Lewis, the Anna-Maria Kellen Executive Director. “Third Street and ISO were founded to connect young people to the music education they deserve and introduce them to the joys of group music making. During this challenging time, student ensembles play a critical role in helping children and teens avoid social isolation.”

The partnership will allow ISO’s orchestras to continue to flourish with the administrative and professional support of Third Street. The three additional orchestras will be called ISO at Third Street. The acquisition is expected to be completed by January. Third Street will immediately assume primary responsibility for the operation of the ISO program, with completion of ISO’s transfer expected to be completed following receipt of required government approvals later this year.

“We are so excited to affiliate with an enduring and respected organization like Third Street and benefit from its deep bench of artistic resources,” said Barbara Tracy, ISO Board President. “Our missions to reach disadvantaged students with the highest caliber of instruction are perfectly matched.”

In March when the pandemic forced public schools to close, Third Street and ISO quickly pivoted to virtual instruction for all programs and they continue online this fall. Third Street anticipates that in-person rehearsals will return slowly in the new year.

Arts education pioneer Emile Wagner founded Third Street in 1894 as the country’s first community music school. It has been guided by the dual goals of providing top-notch education and making sure disadvantaged communities and students of all ages and abilities have access to it. Third Street’s illustrious alums include songwriter, and EGOT winner Bobby Lopez, composer Jessie Montgomery and music director Ray Chew. The school’s ensembles have been showcased at many New York City venues, including Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Steinway Hall and Le Poisson Rouge.

Over five decades ISO’s youth orchestras have built a reputation for excellence. Founded by Annabelle Prager in 1972 because her son’s school didn’t offer ensemble music instruction, ISO attracts top students from all around the city. Its graded orchestras, led by experienced musicians with a passion for teaching, provide students a path to advance from beginner to virtuoso. The youth orchestras have delighted audiences in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Central Park and on tours of Europe and Latin America. ISO’s luminary alums include James Gaffigan, Chief Conductor, Lucerne Symphony, Switzerland and Tito Muñoz, Music Director, Opéra national de Lorraine & Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy, France.

All students are required to audition to determine skill level and placement into the appropriate orchestra. To schedule an audition, email Ivan Antonov at [email protected] or call 212-777-3240.

About Third Street Music School Settlement
Third Street, which was founded 125 years ago to provide music instruction to immigrants and their children, is the nation’s longest-running community music school. Third Street enriches the lives of young students and adults by providing access to high-quality music and dance instruction regardless of their ability to pay. The school serves thousands of students each year in its primary location on East 11th Street in Manhattan and through partnerships with public schools.

About InterSchool Orchestras of New York
ISO began five decades ago with a single orchestra of 20 children. Today, ISO serves nearly 300, creating opportunities for school-aged children in New York City to make music together through tiered-level orchestras. The ensembles perform in major concert halls, schools and community centers, bringing great music to over 7,000 people annually.


If you would like more information about this topic please contact, Kristen Kentner, Director of Marketing & Communications, Third Street Music School, 917-213-9208, [email protected]

ISO Partners with Food Bank For New York City for “Playing for Hope” Benefit Concert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York City…The InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO), a nonprofit organization, is having an online Playing for Hope Benefit Concert on May 15th at 7:30 p.m. Fifty percent of the net proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank For New York City. We are asking for a $20 donation to support the concert. This donation will provide 50 meals to a New Yorker and provide financial aid for students to keep studying music. ISO serves nearly 300 students in four orchestras and provides a nurturing environment where all children can realize their personal best, achieve high artistic standards, and share music with the community. Generous financial aid and scholarships ensure that every child can participate. To RSVP for the benefit concert, visit How to donate: Donate online at or send a check to ISO, 121 W. 27th Street, 902, New York, NY 10001. Download the full press release  

Winter Celebration at Symphony Space Features ISO Collaboration with Mingus Dynasty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Young musicians from InterSchool Orchestras of New York present a Winter Celebration featuring a collaboration with Mingus Dynasty and Renée Manning The Winter Celebration concert features the four levels of orchestras in InterSchool Orchestrasof New York including Morningside, Carnegie Hill, Concert Orchestra and the ISO Symphony, conducted by Dr. Matt Rotjan, Steve Rochen, Joseph Meyers, and Barry Stern respectively. The ISO Symphony will be joined on stage by Renée Manning and members of Mingus Dynasty, providing a snapshot of ISO’s dynamic season and showcasing the achievement of the students.

The Winter Celebration will take place at Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Upper Level, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 at 5:30 pm on Sunday, December 8th, 2019.

Tickets can be purchased for $30 at until the concert. Download the full press release

ISO Presents Philharmonster Concert for Halloween


Young musicians from all over New York City under the baton of conductors Steven Rochen and Dr. Matthew Rotjan, and special guest Renee Manning, will come together to present this spooky and spine-tingling performance. This Halloween themed community concert will feature some of New York’s up and coming musical talent, ages ranging from elementary school through high school. The program will include works by Bernofsky, Hughes, Tang, Wagner, Bishop, and Meyer for an hour-long concert. Costumes are highly encouraged. Be sure to bring your Trick or Treat bag for lots of free candy! Admission to the concert is 100% FREE.

DATE: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

TIME: 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

LOCATION: St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 263 W 86th Street, New York, NY

Philharmonster Press Release  

InterSchool Orchestras of New York and the Mingus Dynasty Collaborate to Present MINGUS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE InterSchool Orchestras of New York and the Mingus Dynasty are collaborating to present MINGUS.  This concert features never-before-heard full orchestra arrangements of popular Mingus tunes arranged by Earl McIntyre.  It will also feature solo performances by the Mingus Dynasty. MINGUS will present new arrangements, created by Earl McIntyre and featuring members of Mingus Dynasty, reimagine Mingus’ Nobody Knows the Bradley I Know, Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love, and Don’t Let it Happen Here to include the powerful sound of a full symphony orchestra. The ISO Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Barry Stern, consists of students, aged 12 to 19, from every corner of New York City. This concert will take place at Long Island University’s Kumble Theater, 1 University Place, Brooklyn, NY at 6 pm on Sunday, November 17, 2019. Tickets are $20.  Purchase online. Mingus Dynasty Musicians include: Alto Saxophone: Alex Foster Tenor Saxophone: Scott Robinson Trumpet: Dr. Alex Pope Norris Trombone:  Robin Eubanks Piano: Theo Hill Bass: Boris Kozlov Drums: Donald Edwards Also featured: Singer:  Renée Manning Download the full press release  

InterSchool Orchestras: Changing the Face of Youth Orchestra Music


July 30, 2019, New York City…The InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO), a nonprofit organization, is changing the face of youth orchestra music with its focus on cross-cultural genres in announcing its 2019-2020 Season in New York City.  New partnerships with many diverse and prestigious organizations highlight the rich cultural heritage of the City and expose young musicians to a wide range of musical collaborations.

Read the full press release