About the Festival

June 22 – August 3, 2024
Brunswick, Maine
250 Students
70% Receive Scholarships
Apply Now

The Bowdoin Festival Experience

At the Festival, we foster the growth of our musicians through the study of solo and chamber music repertoire. With about 250 students on campus each summer (typically 175 per session), we cultivate personal attention, encouragement, and nurturing in a setting that includes a broad range of collaborative and supportive relationships and hundreds of opportunities to learn, rehearse, and perform. Our blend of conservatory and music school-based faculty represents some of the most respected musicians who maintain active performing profiles along with a proven commitment to teaching and mentoring young musicians.

View Faculty | View Brochure

At the Festival we are always looking for ways, through music, to make each other's lives better and lift one another up. When you're part of a community like that, it's really powerful and life changing.
—David Ying & Phillip Ying, Festival Artistic Directors



  • Private lessons (1 per week)
  • Studio classes
  • Chamber music (2 coachings per week)
  • Ample practice time
  • Composer lectures
  • Seminars with faculty and guest artists


  • Young Artists Series performances
  • Community Concert performances
  • Masterclasses
  • Collaborations with student composers
  • Festival orchestra


  • Flexible schedule
  • Free tickets to faculty concerts
  • HD video recordings of performances
  • Live streaming of performances and masterclasses
  • Photo sessions with photographer

Compare Programs

Use the drop-down menus to change and compare our 5 programs:
Instrumental, Fellowship, String Quartet, Collaborative Piano, Composition. Click "View Program" for more details and audition requirements.

Student Life

Students 13 and older are housed in Bowdoin College dorms and apartment buildings. During the enrollment process, accepted students may indicate roommate requests.

  • Dorms are monitored by student and staff Resident Assistants
  • Typically double occupancy rooms
  • A pillow, linens, towel, and a blanket provided (hangers are not provided)
  • Washers and dryers are available in every residence hall (laundry detergent is not provided).
  • Students 17 and under have curfew

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided by the award-winning Bowdoin College dining hall. Students describe the food as “exceptional” and “amazing.” Meals are a great time to socialize with chamber groups and friends, connect with Festival faculty and staff, and meet other students.

Dining Hall Hours
Breakfast: 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM
Lunch: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Dinner: 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM
Sunday Brunch: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

The Festival’s Residence Life team works hard to make the environment at the Festival supportive, caring, and fun. They offer a variety of activities including off-campus trips:

  • Bradbury Mountain
  • Cliffs Trail costal hike
  • Monhegan Island
  • Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
  • Popham Beach
  • Soccer games
  • Yoga sessions
  • Fresh seafood at coastal restaurants
  • Visits to art museums

We use the facilities of Bowdoin College during the six-week Festival. A small, beautiful, and safe campus, students can walk from one side to the other in under ten minutes. Students are housed in Bowdoin College dorms and apartment building and have access to Bowdoin’s libraries (including Beckwith Music Library), museums, athletic complex, and playing fields. Performances take place in the college’s state-of-the-art Studzinski Recital Hall.

Brunswick, home to about 20,000, includes many great restaurants, coffee shops, gelato (a Festival favorite), and stores within a short walk of campus. Residence life trips take students to Freeport, a popular shopping destination, and many students enjoy trips to Portland, which was Bon Appétit’s 2018 Restaurant City of the Year.

Day at a Glance

Daily schedules at the Festival vary greatly depending on a student’s focus and interests. The Festival provides freedom for students to plan their own schedules, individual practice, and group rehearsal time. Students do not have pre-determined agendas for performances or day-to-day activities. Instead, students are surrounded by world-class faculty, inspiring peers, terrific facilities, and hundreds of opportunities to learn, rehearse, and perform. Students take these resources and create a schedule that reflects their personal goals for the summer.

Below is just a sample of what a weekday at the Festival might look like. This is not a daily schedule (e.g. students will not have daily lessons and coachings).

Time Activity
8:00 – 8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00 – 10:00 AM Private Lesson
10:00 – 11:30 AM Individual Practice
11:30 – 12:30 PM Lunch
1:00 – 3:00 PM Community Concert Performance
4:00 – 5:00 PM Chamber Music Coaching or Rehearsal
5:00 – 6:00 PM Recreational Activities
6:00 – 6:45 PM Dinner
7:30 – 9:30 PM Faculty Concert (students get free tickets!)


The Festival Experience

Hear directly from Artistic Directors David Ying and Phillip Ying about studying solo and chamber music in the Festival’s flexible and nurturing environment.

Cost & Financial Aid

Application Fees

Maine students may apply for free! Please email Grace Bell for instructions. All application fees are non-refundable.

Application Fee By January 15, 2024 After January 15, 2024
Instrumental Program $79 Applications Closed
Fellowship Program $99 Applications Closed
String Quartet Program $99 Applications Closed
Collaborative Piano Program $99 Applications Closed
Composition Program $79 Applications Closed

Program Fees

The fees for the Instrumental and Composition programs are listed below. There are no fees for the Fellowship, String Quartet, and Collaborative Piano programs.

2024 Fees 3-Week Session 6-Week Session
Participation Fee $2,500 $4,400
Room & Board $2,000 $3,400
Facility Fee $300 $600
TOTAL $4,800 $8,400

Applying for Financial Assistance

The Festival is committed to enrolling all admitted students regardless of financial need. All applicants may apply for financial assistance during the application process. Awards are determined on the basis of need and merit. Admitted applicants will receive scholarship details in their acceptance email.


Resident Assistant

Resident Assistants (RAs) act as supervisors in the residence halls and apartments and receive scholarship covering room and board. This opportunity is available to a limited number of qualified students. It is a time commitment of 5 hours of scheduled work per week, plus being on-call.

  • Six-week attendance
  • 21 years of age +
  • Valid driver’s license (preferred)
  • On-call on a rotating basis
  • Enforce all policies
  • Attend concerts
  • Hold hall meetings
  • Organize social events & outings
  • Check-in and check-out students
  • Arrive two days early

Being a Resident Assistant is a great opportunity to help shape the experience of fellow students and be part of a dedicated and fun team within the Festival community.

Applicants who would like to be considered for an RA position should submit a statement of interest and résumé that demonstrates related experience in the online application.

How to Apply

Applications are submitted through our SlideRoom portal. The following are the steps you can expect to see in the application. If you have your financial info and audition videos ready, you can complete the application in under 10 minutes! Applications for our 2024 season will open in November.
Apply Now

Start by creating a SlideRoom account. The basic information in your SlideRoom account (name, email, phone, address) will be the info we see in your application. If you already have a SlideRoom account, please make sure your contact information is up to date.

Then, share some additional information:

  • Age & Date of Birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Gender
  • Instrument
  • Current Teacher
  • Current School (or most recent school with class year)
  • Have you previously attended the Bowdoin Music Festival?
  • Summer Programs attended in last three years
  • Chamber Music experience and recent repertoire
  • How did you hear about the Festival?
  • Optional Personal Statement

Select session and faculty preferences.

Session 1: Arrive June 22; Depart July 13
Session 2: Arrive July 13; Depart August 3

Instrumental applicants may apply to one or both sessions. Fellowship, String Quartet, Collaborative Piano, and Composition applicant must attend both sessions. If instrumental applicants apply to and are admitted to both sessions, you may accept both, or accept one and decline the other.

Select first and second choice faculty for each session. If you don’t have a faculty preference, you may ask the Festival to select on your behalf.

Note for Fellowship Applicants
Applicants may indicate whether they would like to be considered for the instrumental/composition program if not selected for a Fellowship. Applicants only need to fill out one application.

To complete the financial aid application, you will need your 2022 Tax Return (if independent) or your parent/guardian’s tax return (if dependent).

  • Parent/Guardian Income
  • Parent/Guardian Income Producing Assets
  • Student Income
  • Student Income Producing Assets
  • Number of children and college students that parent/guardian is supporting
  • Proof of Income (Tax Return or International Equivalent)
  • Current School Annual Tuition
  • Current School Annual Financial Aid (total scholarship, loans, and grants)
  • Explanation of Current Financial Situation

We also have specific geographic-based tuition scholarships available for students residing/studying in Maine (violin, viola, cello) or Mississippi (all instruments). Please email Grace Bell for more information.

Resident Assistants (RAs) act as supervisors in the residence halls and apartments and receive a scholarship to cover full room and board. Requirements and responsibilities include:

  • 6-week attendance
  • 21 years old +
  • valid driver’s license (to drive Festival activity vans)
  • on-call on a rotating basis
  • enforce Festival policies
  • hold hall meetings
  • organize social events and outings
  • arrive early for training (Thursday, June 20 between Noon and 4 PM)

To apply, please prepare the following for inclusion in the online application:

  1. A statement describing why you would like to be considered for an RA
  2. A list of past experiences that qualify you for an RA position

Please review program pages for specific requirements: Instrumental, Fellowship, String Quartet, Collaborative Piano, Composition.

Videos may be uploaded or linked from YouTube or Vimeo.

Please provide one reference. You will need to provide your recommender’s email address. Please tell them to expect an email from SlideRoom requesting an electronic submission of your recommendation. Please ask your recommender to submit your recommendation within seven days of your application submission.

If your recommender has trouble locating the SlideRoom email, they should email the recommendation letter to Grace Bell at

Paying the non-refundable application fee is the last step before submitting your application.*

Instrumental & Composition: $79 by 1/15; $149 after 1/15
Fellowship, String Quartet, Collaborative Piano: $99 by 1/15; $149 after 1/15

The Festival does not want the application fee to be a barrier to submitting an application. If you would like to request an application fee discount, please email Grace Bell at

Maine students may apply for free! Please email Grace Bell for instructions.


You’re done! We look forward to reviewing your application.

I made so many meaningful personal connections at the Festival, and that’s what made it truly special to be there for six weeks. It was one of the most enriching and fulfilling summers I’ve spent thus far on all fronts: not only as a musician but also as a person and as an artist. I won’t forget this experience.
—Kevin Ahfat
In 2004, as a 15-year-old student, my teachers at the Festival helped me discover my destiny. I fell madly in love with playing chamber music. Over the next four Festival summers I switched from violin to viola and set my sights on playing in a string quartet. My sponsor, Pat Brown, helped make a life of music possible for me and we continue to stay in touch after all these years. Performing and teaching at the Festival with the Dover Quartet has been a dream come true.
—Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt
The summer I spent with the Festival was one of the most special summers I've ever had. I felt grateful that I was able to spend time with beautiful music in every moment in Maine's beautiful environment. Pei-Shan Lee’s coaching was very helpful, and her performance was amazing and inspiring. Here, I learned not only the art of piano playing but also the art of collaboration. I felt so lucky to study with world-renowned and world-class musicians as a collaborative pianist.
—Chewon Park
I felt imbedded in the fabric of the Festival, which brought the support and encouragement to compose at an elevated level. The Festival created a community, a family for me, and a lifeline to have my work performed in the company of the brightest musical talents of our age.
—Michael-Thomas Foumai
The Festival helped me develop as an artist and performer by placing me in an environment in which I was challenged and inspired by my colleagues, all of whom had an equal investment in coming together and creating great music. In addition to having great colleagues who will continue to be involved in my musical life, the program provided me with ample opportunities to play for, and work alongside with, the world renowned musicians who are on faculty.
—Bixby Kennedy