Instrumental Program

Session 1: June 27 – July 18, 2020
Session 2: July 18 – August 8, 2020
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2020 applications open in November

Instruments used in this program:

Every summer, the Festival’s instrumental program provides an intensive and in-depth exploration of chamber and solo music for 250 students. The summer institute offers lessons, studio classes, coachings with Festival faculty, and ample performance opportunities.

Festival faculty come to Bowdoin from leading conservatories including Curtis, Cincinnati Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman, Indiana, Oberlin, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes, New England Conservatory, Peabody, Rice, Royal College of Music, and University of Southern California, among others. At Bowdoin, these faculty members are dedicated to collaborating with and guiding the next generation’s most promising artists.

Festival students are defined by their dedication, creativity, curiosity, and passion for excellence in music. A summer at the Festival surrounds students with like-minded peers while offering opportunities and resources to realize these passions, bring joy through music to the lives of others, and prepare for meaningful lives in the arts.

Festival alumni are represented in major orchestras, renowned ensembles, and conservatories worldwide. Notable alumni include Jennifer Koh, Emanuel Ax, Paul Neubauer, Anne Akiko Meyers, James Austin Smith, Derek Bermel, Ray Chen, and many others. Alumni are also represented in chamber ensembles such as the Parker, Dover, Navarra, Pacifica String Quartets, and Manhattan Chamber Players.

I really enjoyed being able to work with so many other musicians. I played in three regular chamber groups and I also played for four student composer groups. I was able to play both traditional classical music as well as music written by composers at the Festival. I feel like being able to play with so many musicians with different opinions helped me to grow as a player and I was able to become more confident in my own musical ideas.
—Holly Workman

Program Details


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



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

Scholarships and Program Fees

  • The Festival is committed to enrolling all admitted applicants regardless of financial need. Please review our scholarship opportunities to learn more about applying for financial aid.
  • Program fees

Application Requirements

Age Requirements

The Instrumental program is open to all ages. Most students are between 13 and 30.

Audition videos

Please submit two contrasting pieces of any length that best represent your current level of playing. An accompanist is encouraged, but not required. Videos may be uploaded or linked from YouTube or Vimeo.

Resident Assistant

If you would like to be considered for a resident assistant (RA) position, you must complete the RA portion of the application. RAs must attend the Festival for six weeks and be 21+. Resident Assistants receive free room and board.

Pre-formed Groups

Each instrumentalist must apply individually and be accepted. The group will be coached together, but members will be treated as individuals for the purpose of admissions, financial assistance, and housing assignments.

Letter of Recommendation

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.

Financial Assistance

If you would like to be considered for financial assistance from the Festival, you must complete the financial assistance section of the application.

Application Fee

Non-refundable application fee.

  • 2020 application fees and deadlines will be announced soon.
  • $79 on or before 11:59 pm EST on January 21, 2019
  • $149 after 11:59 pm EST on January 21, 2019

The best part of the Festival was the chance to experience top-level teaching and gain a new sense of musical independence. My instructors are such amazing teachers and inspiring individuals. I’ll carry what I learned from them for a very long time.
—Bowie Ma

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