The InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO) proudly offers a comprehensive youth orchestra program that serves hundreds of young people in New York City. ISO has demonstrated its commitment to excellence in its ensembles, performances, and programs designed to meet the needs of school children of various abilities. Its musicians truly reflect the face of New York City, representing a multitude of ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
The Ensemble Program
The core of ISO are its orchestral programs, consisting of three graded ensembles. These young musicians rise to the challenge and exceed the high musical expectations held forth by their professional conductors while supported by their instrumental coaches. The program is enriched each year with coaching sessions by professional orchestral musicians and a concerto competition.
ISO ensembles perform as many as ten concerts each year in major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, Roulette, and the Brooklyn Museum. In addition, ISO groups perform at community centers, nursing homes, and churches throughout the City, reaching an audience each year of nearly 8,000. Free concerts in city schools performed by ISO ensembles introduce more than 1,000 students each year in traditionally under-served communities to the excitement of ensemble music. This is the only program in New York City where students see children their own age performing orchestral music.
ISO at Third Street
Beginning in the October of 2020, Third Street Music School Settlement announced that 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.
With its scholarship and sliding-scale tuition programs, ISO provides nearly $250,000 each year in financial aid, ensuring accessibility for all who wish to explore the excitement of ensemble playing.
Student Mentor Program
ISO is excited to announce the Student Mentor Program for members of ISO Symphony and Concert Orchestra. This new program provides students with the opportunity to interact with members of ISO’s younger orchestras to inspire and model excellent orchestra etiquette.
Our goal is for older students to experience music education from the viewpoint of an instructor and learn to work with younger students. Feedback from coaches and conductors will be provided during the year, as well as community service letters at the end of the year.
The mentors will aid the conductors and coaches during rehearsals, and play alongside the younger students. They may help by working with coaches during sectionals for example, or conductors may ask them to demonstrate passages, or suggest technical advice. The younger students will benefit by seeing just how much they can accomplish in the long term if they continue to practice their instrument and participate in ISO ensembles.
ISO collaborates with a variety of organizations to enrich its programs.