Photo by David DeNee

The Orchestra Now is a unique orchestra and master’s degree program designed to prepare musicians for the challenges facing the modern symphony orchestra.

Musicians receive three years of advanced orchestral training and take graduate-level courses in orchestral and curatorial studies, leading to a Master of Music degree. Developed by the conductor Leon Botstein in partnership with professional musicians, teachers, and professional orchestra administrators, The Orchestra Now offers students the kind of experience they might expect as career orchestral musicians—public performance, touring, recording—and something more. In The Orchestra Now, you will be part of an ensemble of forward-thinking, exceptional musicians who intend to redefine what it means to be an orchestra. You will learn from renowned faculty how to curate repertoire that absorbs the audience and sparks new ideas. Under the guidance of experienced artist teachers, you and your peers will design and present music programs that respond to diverse audiences.

TŌN members receive $24,000 annually, health benefits, and a Masters of Music from Bard College.

The Orchestra performs regular subscription series at Carnegie Hall, The Met Fifth Avenue, the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

In addition, it performs concerts in the boroughs of New York City, and single engagements throughout the Northeast, including Massachusetts and upstate New York. In total, The Orchestra Now performs 20–30 concerts each season. TŌN also performs in the Bard Music Festival every summer. Musicians of TŌN also perform regular chamber concerts in the Hudson Valley.

Candidates for audition must submit a resume and prescreening tape (excerpts available upon request), and also complete a full application to Bard College’s graduate degree program. It is not possible to be a member of TŌN without being in the degree program. The program is open to anyone with a conservatory degree or equivalent, and to those who may already have masters or doctoral degrees.

For more information about TŌN, please visit

Inquiries and list of excerpts: