Summer Festivals and more for Young Musicians, all levels by State
Students who want to pursue a career in instrumental music need to immerse themselves in the scene as much as possible. This includes summer instruction from different professors than they would normally have access too. Summer festivals provide great instruction and the opportunity to meet colleges that will be in the field for life. Many of the festivals are expensive to attend, but many are free or offer scholarships. Check out the list by state below or simply browse to see what appeals to you.
Kinds of gatherings
Summer festivals usually focus on either full orchestra or chamber music, although the larger festivals may include both. These vary widely on cost and competitiveness, but are often the most educational musically and socially. Some are day camps, but most have some housing included.
Because they last from 2-8 weeks, this can be a great way to see the world and improve your skills to foster the beginning of your musical career. Most summer festivals are geared for high school or college age students.
Instrument Specific camps
These gatherings are usually shorter and focus on a particular instrument or instrument family. Examples might include a flute, saxophone or string focused week long camp or weekend. Some might even last only a day. Oboe and Bassoon camps are a bit more peculiar so they have their own categories explained below.
Double reed camps/Double Reed Day
These often take place in the summer and are double reed specific. They usually accommodate all ages and focus on reed making and double reed ensembles. Some can last a weekend or an entire week.
In order to aid in the recruiting process, many University music programs host double reed days. This is usually one or two days in which the university oboe/bassoon professor and some guest artists will give master classes, performances, and give reed advice. Often vendors will be present to stock up on the latest double reed gear.
These are a fantastic opportunity to meet prospective professors and decide who you may want to study with. Most attendance is regional, so it is also helpful to network with the other double reed players in your area.
The Southern Oboe Intensive is a 5 day oboe event open to high school college or adult oboists who want to advance in their skills. The intesive features masterclasses reed making and private lessons with Phil Ross, Russ DeLuna, and James Sullivan. https://www.southernoboeintensive.com/
University of South Alabama Double Reed Day is hosted by Dr. Rebecca Mindock. She is the Associate Professor of Double Reeds at the University of South Alabama. She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Oboe Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Colorado-Boulder, from which she also has a Master of Music degree.
The event is usually in the early spring semester so plan to register by the end of January.
The University of Alabama at Huntsville also hosts a double reed day. This is an admittedly small event but has a free lunch and t-shirt included.
The University of Alabama also hosts a small event which features a performance from a double reed chior made up of participants and requires a small registration fee.
The Sitka music festival was founded 40 years ago by violinist Paul Rosenthal. Sitka fosters a Musician Residency program and opportunities for Adult amateurs. Sitka presents performances for 4 weeks in the summer across the state of Alaska.
Arizona music fest is for professional players and has featured players from the nation’s greatest orchestras.
Northern Arizona University hosts an annual double reed day that costs $10 to attend. They offer help of region audition music and a double reed band. The even is open to participants of all ages.
Hot Springs Music Festival is world famous for the accomplishments of its alumni. The festival is two weeks at the begining of summer. There is no cost for tuition, but there is a fee for room and board.
University of the Pacific Hosts a double reed day, late in the spring semester that features Guest artists from leading studios across the country. PDRD is hosted by Tom Nugent, and Nicolasa Kuster, the professors of the univerisity.
Idylwild Arts is an intensive music festival that takes place over 2-3 weeks at the end of the Summer. There are opportunities based on age and preference of Band, Orchestra, or Camber music. This is for ages 10-18.
Aspen is a world famous orchestral festival for the highest level players in the world. The festival is 8 weeks long and the faculty is from the best orchestras and Universities in the USA. High in the mountains, the orchestra performs as parts of chamber ensembles as well as for conducting classes. There are fellowships available that allow students to study for free.
Colorado College Music Festival is an intense orchestral festival that lasts a month. The program is free to students and hosts professors from across the nation. This program is for University students though some younger students may apply.
Rocky Ridge Music Center is a four week program for players 18-24. The center also hosts 2 or 3 week programs for high school students.
Norfolk is a chamber music festival connected with Yale university. The faculty is top notch and the performance level is high. University students gain experience performing in new or preformed ensembles.
The Delaware Chamber Music Festival, is worth mentioning, but I couldn’t find more information as their website was down at the time. If you find out more leave a comment to improve the entry.
For a few weeks in the summer, Miami is home to the Miami Classical Music Festival. Featuring instruction and performance for Piano, Opera, Broadway, Orchestral musicians, and Conducting, this festival has a place for everyone. https://miamimusicfestival.com/#apprentice-home
For a few weekends in January, Chamber Fest Vero Beach presents masterclasses for string players in highschool and college. Guest artists are world class soloists and chamber musicians from around the world. http://musicbeyondthechamber.org/chamberfestverobeach.html
Sarasota music festival occurs on the gulf shores of Florida, and features guest instructors from Metropolitan Opera and world class soloists. University students compete for a few spots each summer. https://www.sarasotaorchestra.org/festival/faculty
In Columbus Georgia the Schwob Music FestivalI is a five day orchestral festival that gives High School students a feel for large ensemble playing and a chance to work with like minded musicians. https://www.schwobsummermusic.com/
The Sun Valley Music Festival is for students from elementary to college who want to develop their skills. The camp focuses on String instruments but has recently begun expanding into other orchestral instruments. There is also an intensive chamber component.
The illinois chamber music festival is a day camp and sleep away camp for students of Illinois. The camp offers additional classes in handbells, tennis, and music theory. The camp lasts for 4 weeks in July each summer.
In Valparaiso, Indiana Couryney Miller teachers oboe as part of the Lutheran Summer Music Festival. You don’t need to be Lutheran to attend, and participants get to play in a band and perform concerts at the end of the week. This festival features other faculty from across the nation and caters to high school students.
Ravenscroft String Camp is a week long camp for young string players in Louisiana.
Acadiana Symphony and Conservatory offers summer music camps for children ages 7-14. https://acadianasymphony.org/camps/
The Louisiana Bass Festival is held every spring at the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. Bass guest artists come from leading orchestras and help run masterclasses and competitions for Bass students.
LSU Double reed day is presented by Johanna Pennington and Darrel Hale. Guest artist from the top american orchestras come to share their wisdom with students in the Baton Rouge area.
Kent Blossom Music Festival is a great place to meet new friends and play great orchestral and chamber music for a few weeks each summer at Kent State University. https://www.kent.edu/blossom
In picturesque Salem Oregon, Young Musicians and Artists is a five day camp for highschool students. Participants can play in the band or orchestra and perform along lifelong friends and colleagues. The oboe teacher is CHERYL WEFLER who plays in Eugene, Oregon. https://www.ymainc.org/programs
The East Tennessee Double reed day is actually inclusive of all reed instruments. Master Classes and events feature the Clarinet and Saxophone as well as the Oboe and Bassoon. https://www.etsu.edu/cas/music/camps/reedday.php?fbclid=IwAR20aCu1mDbUejsxplTvxbtW-XWU-sleny9hP7nkpjwSi6U3pOgsue_-sIU
Texas Music Festival takes place for four weeks every June and presents dozens of concerts featuring Jazz students and Orchestral Fellows. As an alumni of the festival I can say it truly has my heart. Fellows get to work with world class faculty, usually from Rice university or the Houston Symphony. While they allow younger students to apply, most fellows are 18-30 years old.
Round Top music festival presents concerts in central Texas for 6-8 weeks in the summer. Fellows have gone on to illustrious performing careers. Students play with and learn from world renowned faculty from across the globe. http://festivalhill.org/summerinstitute/
American Festival of the Arts is located in Houston, Texas and is an amazing experience for middle and high school oboists who would love to play in an orchestra. There is now a wind ensemble for even more fun. Chamber music and master classes are included and the faculty historically comes from Eastman or Juilliard grads. https://www.afatexas.org/about/
Baylor Band Camp also features an orchestra. Middle and high school students work with Euridice Alvarez and some of the college students on reed making and lessons. The band and orchestra program is top notch and great rep is regularly performed. There is also an annual talent show with prizes, so come prepared. Dorms and meal plans are provided and scholarships are available. https://www.baylor.edu/busmc/
University of Texas Band Camp
This is a great camp for middle and high schoolers. During different weeks they offer Band/orchestra, Flute, Saxophone, and even Mariachi focused camps with leading faculty. If you play guitar, sing, or a traditional orchestral instrument this camp is a lot of fun and will help you grow musically. http://www.longhornmusiccamp.org/
Sam Houston Double Reed Day
Led by Dr. Season Summers, the Sam Houston Double Reed day is a big hit in the east texas region and has had famous guests like Erin Hannigan, Peter Cooper, and Yoshi Ishikawa. https://www.shsu.edu/academics/music/events-and-special-events/double-reed-day/
Floot Fire is a flute centered series of events across Texas. There is a lot of variation in location, duration, and faculty so follow the link to find out more.
The Wintergreen Muisc Festival is an intensive festival for students of all ages. Their focus is chamber music for strings and winds. Woodwind quintets, string quartets and other ensembles perform throughout the summer.
The National Symphony Orchestra summer institute has four week session in the summer to train students in the orchestral tradition. https://education.kennedy-center.org/education/nsoed/smi/?promotionno=358132&gclid=CjwKCAiA0svwBRBhEiwAHqKjFjHgaRwv8P4WpKOugBa-IuqZ4ZZZvdO3mZNQ646CkT31QfcWH67sXBoC1XMQAvD_BwE
For students ages 14-26 who would like to play in an orchestra Marrowstone Music Festival provides a great opportunity to hone your skills and meet new friends. The Seattle Youth Symphony administers the camp for two weeks each summer.