In the 2012/2013 season the InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO) proudly offers a multi-faceted music education program, committed to providing the finest quality musical ensemble experience for young people in New York City. The ISO has demonstrated its commitment to excellence in its ensembles, performances, and programs designed to meet the needs of students of all ages and abilities. Its ensembles are comprised of more than 300 students that truly reflect the face of New York City, representing a multitude of ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
- The core of ISO is its orchestra program, consisting of eight graded large ensembles and a number of chamber music 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.
- With its scholarship and sliding-scale tuition programs, ISO provides more than $170,000 each year in financial aid, ensuring accessibility for all who wish to explore the excitement of ensemble playing. All students in the ISO Symphony are on full scholarship to guarantee there are no financial barriers to a student’s ability to participate.
- ISO ensembles perform as many as twenty concerts each year in major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, 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 offers totally free of charge several programs for City schools including consultation to help schools start or expand their own instrumental music programs; and in-school assembly concerts introducing the orchestra and its instruments to children who may never have heard one.
- The Teaching Intern Program (TIP) enables advanced ISO players to become musical tutors for beginning public school music students at the Julia Richmond Education Center. Free weekly lessons give these beginners their first instrumental experiences, eventually leading to a place in the ISO beginning orchestras. It also provides a wonderful introduction and community service to the teaching interns.
- Endangered Instrument Program – Lessons are subsidized to encourage students to play less popular instruments being sought by orchestras: oboe, bassoon, double bass, viola and French horn. Proficiency on these instruments enhances a student’s high school and college prospects.
- Subsidized Music Lessons – ISO subsidizes individual lessons for a limited number of low-income students, enabling them to progress through the orchestra program. Lessons begin in September, and are weekly through June.
ISO was awarded the League of American Orchestra‘s 2004 Bank of America Award for Excellence in Orchestra Education, and was inducted into the Channel 13 Community Hall of Fame in 2006.