The New Jersey Youth Symphony opens its 2020-21 season with a wealth of digital programming for its existing community and beyond, featuring guest artists who are not only excellent musicians but also important voices in the role of the arts today.

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ, October 01, 2020 /Neptune100/ — The New Jersey Youth Symphony, a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, has announced that it will open the 2020-21 season with new and compelling online education programs that include 15 master classes and 12 webinars with world-renowned guest artists and educators. With a hybrid schedule of both online and socially distant outdoor rehearsals, students will also participate in over 30 online classes weekly ranging from music theory, composition, and ear training to jazz history, video editing, how to improve sight-reading skills, and fiddling in an unprecedented elevation of both the quantity and breadth of educational programming. Following the U.S. Youth Orchestras eFestival on September 20 with fellow programs from Chicago, Hawaii, Los Angeles, and Texas, live performances at venues around the state of New Jersey will be replaced with a digital format that has opened new doors of artistic collaborations for the New Jersey Youth Symphony, now in its 42nd season.

Said Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo, “In addition to this season’s online enrichment offerings, our students will have the opportunity to participate in #StayHomeandPlay, a social media campaign to share music beyond the online classroom. Recordings of the young musicians’ solo performances at home will be compiled into a digital concert and sent to nursing homes and assisted living facilities for residents to enjoy as a calming respite during this time of social distancing. Thanks to constantly evolving technology, our students will be able to share the gift of music and spread a message of hope to a wider audience despite the pandemic.”

“In these challenging times, our team has made all the necessary efforts to turn our programs into a vibrant virtual environment,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “While in-person teaching remains critical and an important component of all of our education programs, the online environment is also creating new opportunities that definitely will expand the footprint of all of our offerings.”

The Monday Master Class Series launches this fall and imbues the essence of the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s originally scheduled season, including artists, genres, and diversity, and offers its students a rare touchpoint with professional symphony orchestra musicians and leaders in today’s world of performing arts education. The digital series, expanding the limits of what would have been possible to present in person due to the cost and logistics, features a wide variety of acclaimed instrumentalists. The series kicked off on September 14 with newly appointed Oberlin Conservatory faculty member and French hornist Jeffrey Scott and includes Cleveland Orchestra Principal Clarinet Afendi Yusuf on November 2, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Principal Bass Ha Young Jung on November 9, and Seattle Symphony Principal Flute Demarre McGill on December 7, as well as instructors from The Juilliard School, University of Massachusetts, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Monday Master Class Series takes place weekly from 7:00-8:15 p.m. EST through December 14. Viewing for this online series is free via Zoom.

Friday Webinars at Wharton Arts is a series dedicated to making authentic connections between art and life through the sharing of stories, expertise, and creations by guest artists of varied disciplines. Curated and hosted by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo, the series begins with an exploration of Women in Jazz with Grammy-nominated saxophonist Tia Fuller and pianist Shamie Royston on October 2 and includes Santa Fe Opera’s This Little Light of Mine: Story of Fanny Lou Hamer on October 30, Domhnaill Hernon, Director of Experiments in Arts and Technology at Nokia Bell Labs on November 13, and Practicing for Skills vs. Practicing for Performance with Dr. Noa Kageyama on December 4. Audience members will enjoy a personal touch to the online experience with artists who are eager to engage with the students and community via virtual events. Friday Webinars at Wharton Arts take place weekly from 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST through December 11. Viewing for this online series is free via Zoom or on

For more information on the Monday Master Class Series and Friday Webinars at NJYS as well as the full line-up of guest artists, visit

The New Jersey Youth Symphony, founded in 1979, is a tiered orchestral program offering ensemble education for students in grades 3-12 across New Jersey. NJYS has grown from one orchestra of 65 students to over 500 students in 15 different orchestras and ensembles, including the internationally recognized Youth Symphony. NJYS ensembles have performed in venues including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NJYS has received numerous prestigious awards for its adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and has had six European tours, including participation in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition (Vienna), winning First Prizes in July 2014 and 2017.

Now in its 42nd season, NJYS continues to achieve musical excellence through intensive instruction and high-level performance. Under the guidance of a talented team of conductors, coaches, and teaching artists, students are immersed in challenging repertoire, learning the art of ensemble playing, and exploring their potential in a supportive and inclusive environment. NJYS remains committed to programming works by diverse composers and featured 20th century African American and women composers such as Duke Ellington, George Walker, Yvonne Desportes, Emma Lou Diemer, Julia Perry, and Florence Price this past season.

The New Jersey Youth Symphony is a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. Wharton is New Jersey’s largest non-profit performing arts education organization serving over 1,200 students of all ages and abilities through a range of classes and ensembles. In addition to the New Jersey Youth Symphony, programs include the Paterson Music Project and the Performing Arts School.