Festival participants work closely with the faculty, who spend many hours coaching small ensembles, private lessons, and master classes. In addition, the faculty teach sessions that are particularly valuable for pre-professional students, including courses that discuss strategies for practice, improvisation, and how to perform and relate to colleagues in chamber ensembles and orchestra. Mock auditions are also part of the curriculum, which includes information on how to prepare for orchestral auditions. Participation in the festival, both in chamber ensembles and the orchestra, offers each student the opportunity to learn and perform the best of the standard repertoire.
All students participate in a concert series including formal and informal chamber music concerts, five orchestra performances, including a free children’s concert, and several off-campus outreach concerts. Six to eight students are chosen by audition for concerto readings with the orchestra in performances that are open to the public. Chamber music performances are held in Packard Hall, a modern, acoustically superb, 300-seat concert hall. The Festival Orchestra concerts are held in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center South Theater, a 450-seat cutting-edge “tuned” room with the latest acoustical and amplification capabilities. The Cornerstone Arts Center was built in 2008 and is a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary space designed by acclaimed architect Antoine Predock.