The New Jersey Symphony and Montclair State University are proud to announce a historic five-year collaboration, placing the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra in residence at the John J. Cali School of Music. Through this partnership, the Youth Orchestra will serve as a key feeder into the Cali Pathways Project, aimed at bolstering dynamic and comprehensive pathways to higher education and music careers for talented student musicians who otherwise face barriers to realizing their full musical potential.
“The collaboration between the Cali School of Music and the Symphony marks a significant step forward in our mutual pursuit of promoting music education,” said Cali School of Music Director, Anthony Mazzocchi. “Our shared values of inclusivity, access, and excellence align perfectly, making this partnership a natural fit to develop experiential opportunities for students at all levels.”
Both institutions share a common vision to create a robust support system that will facilitate formal pathways for students from elementary school through preprofessional. By leveraging their collective resources and expertise, they empower young musicians and equip them with the tools they need to succeed in the world of music.
“We believe that music is a powerful tool that can transform lives and communities,” said Marshell Jones Kumahor, Vice President of Education & Community Engagement. “Through this partnership, we will work together to ensure that talented young musicians from all walks of life fulfill their potential and pursue their aspirations without barriers.”
Since 1990, the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra has been upholding its mission of providing unparalleled opportunities for personal and musical excellence to qualified middle- and high-school students, with a special focus on removing barriers to access for Black and Latino youth in the Greater Newark area. The program has historically been tuition-free for Newark-area residents, only charging a nominal registration fee. Because of generous grant funding, the participation of all students is heavily subsidized, and all students are eligible for additional financial assistance options. The Symphony also provides free round trip transportation from Newark to the Cali School ensuring accessibility for the aspiring young musicians who would otherwise not have access to an opportunity of this kind.
The formalization of this relationship between the Cali School of Music and the Symphony signifies a strong commitment to music education within historically marginalized communities. This partnership will undoubtedly make a meaningful difference in the lives of students and enrich the cultural fabric of the community.
Montclair State University, the John J. Cali School of Music
The John J. Cali School of Music is a comprehensive, professional school of music centered on preparing the creative leaders of tomorrow. The school is dedicated to a premier artistic and academic education. The Cali School offers exceptional conservatory-level training in best-in-class facilities. Students choose from majors in performance, jazz studies, composition, music education, recording arts + production, and music therapy and study with world-class musicians dedicated to their artistic and personal growth.
New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra
The New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra gives students in grades 4–12—especially Black and Latino youth in the Greater Newark area—unparalleled opportunities to achieve personal and musical excellence. Weekly coaching by Symphony musicians and a supportive peer-to-peer environment provides quality learning and performing experiences and builds a unique culture of collaboration. The achievements of this program and its impact on the lives of these young musicians have received national recognition from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
The Youth Orchestra brings together students of all skill levels who share a passion for music. There are four performing ensembles that are sequential in level, creating a pathway for students to flourish and grow under the guidance of the Symphony’s expert faculty. Students in Academy Orchestra, Repertory Orchestra, String Ensemble and Training Ensemble perform two full concerts each year and participate in masterclasses and workshops with renowned guest artists. In addition to great music making, benefits of the program include musicianship training, volunteer opportunities, additional performance opportunities for advanced students and complimentary tickets to select Symphony concerts.
The Youth Orchestra annually serves more than 200 students from 11 counties across northern and central New Jersey. Students who play orchestral instruments can apply for membership in the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra.