Advanced Chamber Program for strings

The work

Students in the Advanced Chamber Music String program are placed in one of the following paths based on their audition recordings, program needs, and special interests. All students, regardless of their path, participate in the Advanced Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Festival Associate Conductor, special seminars, guest artist interactions, and performances.

Orchestra Intensive Path:

Students participate in a small chamber ensemble the first week of the program and shift their focus to a larger orchestra experience the second week playing in the Sun Valley Youth Orchestra.  They participate in the Advanced Chamber Orchestra both weeks. Students on this track perform with their chamber ensemble at the end of the first week, and with the Advanced Chamber Orchestra and Sun Valley Youth Orchestra at the end of the second week in the Sun Valley Pavilion.

Chamber Music Intensive Path:

On this path, students spend both weeks of the program diving more deeply into their chamber ensemble pieces. In addition to coaching time with professional musicians, each chamber group has ample time to work together to develop of sense of ensemble and prepare material for a performance at the end of the program. A variety of pop-up performances in the community throughout the week may also be planned.  Students also participate in and perform with the Advanced Chamber Orchestra.


Special opportunities and performances

During the 2023 Summer Music Institute , many guest artists interact with Advanced Chamber Program students. Sun Valley Music Festival soloists host discussions or master classes, and Associate Conductor leads the Advanced Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, students interact with various musicians from the Sun Valley Music Festival in special seminars and master classes. Individual, chamber, and large ensemble performances reflect the diversity and quality of the program and its participants. Students in the Advanced Chamber Program perform on the stage in the world-class Sun Valley Pavilion. More intimate performances occur in The Community School Theater and other venues through the valley. These performances may be augmented by even more intimate salon concerts and mini pop-up events around town.


Program details

Schedule may vary

Note: meals are provided for boarding students only.  Other students are asked to bring a sack lunch each day.  Light snacks will be provided during breaks.

Week One:

  • 7:30-8:15 Breakfast for boarding students at the Resident Hall
  • 8:30 Chamber Orchestra rehearsal
  • 10:00 Break
  • 10:15-12:00  Small ensemble rehearsal, coaching, or private practice time
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 12:30-2:00 Attend Festival Orchestra rehearsals, master classes, or seminars with guest artists and speakers
  • 2:00 Break
  • 2:15-3:15 Ensemble coaching or independent rehearsals
  • 3:15 Break
  • 3:30-5:00 Ensemble coaching or independent rehearsals or private lessons
  • 5:00 Coaching and classes are finished, boarders can return to Resident Hall for dinner
  • 6:00 Attend Festival Orchestra concert

Week Two:

  • 7:30-8:15 Breakfast for boarding students at the Resident Hall
  • 8:30-10:00 Chamber Orchestra rehearsal: Both Chamber Intensive Path (CIP) and Orchestra Intensive Path (OIP) students
  • 10:00-10:15: Break
  • 10:15-11:15: OIP Students: Adv. Chamber Orchestra Sectionals or SVYO rehearsal   CIP Students: Sectionals or Ensemble Coaching
  • 11:15-11:30: Break
  • 11:30-12:30: OIP Students- SVYO Sectionals   CIP Students: Independent Practice
  • 12:30-1:00: Lunch
  • 1:00-2:00 OIP Students: SVYO Rehearsal; CIP Students: Ensemble Rehearsal
  • 2:00 Break
  • 2:15-3:15 Ensemble coaching or independent rehearsals (both paths)
  • 3:15 Break
  • 3:30-5:00 Ensemble coaching or independent rehearsals or private lessons
  • 5:00 Coaching and classes are finished, boarders can return to Resident Hall for dinner
  • 6:00 Attend Festival Orchestra concert

Advanced Chamber Program students have a variety of performance opportunities. Students will participate in many of the performances below depending on their musical discipline. More details will be discussed the first week of the program.


Large concerts in conjunction with week-long program for students in grades 2-12

Afternoon Pavilion concert

Friday, August 11, 3:00 PM

Groups performing: Prelude Strings, Prelude Choir, Concert Choir (Intermediate Choir), Philharmonia Orchestra, select piano ensembles, select string, and woodwind or brass ensembles

Evening Pavilion concert

Friday, August 11, 6:30 PM

Groups performing: Sun Valley Youth Orchestra, Chamber Singers (Advanced High School Voice), Advanced Chamber Orchestra, select piano ensembles, and select ensembles. This concert
includes a Grand Finale featuring combined SVYO, Chamber Singers, and Concert Choir, select woodwind, brass, and percussion students.

Advanced Chamber Program students may perform on either or both of the concerts listed above.

Intimate recitals featuring Advanced Chamber Program students in all disciplines:

Advanced Chamber Program Interim Recital featuring select ensembles and solos

Saturday, August 5, 4:00 PM

Community School Theater


The Advanced Chamber Program Concert featuring strings and piano ensembles

Saturday, August 12, 11:00 AM

St. Thomas Episcopal Church


The Advanced Chamber Program Concert Opera Workshop Performance

Saturday, August 12

Location and time TBA

Additionally, Advanced Chamber Program students may perform impromptu pop-up concerts in town. These will be announced as they are scheduled.

Note that the Sun Valley area is located in rural Idaho with limited access to shopping.  Please read the concert attire requirements carefully and bring everything on the list.

Pavilion concerts (all string, piano, and voice students): All students will wear the Music Institute polo shirt they will receive during the first few days of the program. Additionally, wear black dress pants, slacks, or skirts, black dress shoes, black socks (if applicable), see additional requirements below.

Chamber ensembles (strings, piano):  Bring both black and white dress shirt or blouse, black pants or knee length or longer skirt, black dress shoes, black socks.

Opera workshops:  Bring both black and white shirts or blouses, black slacks, dress pants, or skirts, black dress shoes/socks.  Any additional specific attire requirements will be communicated by Opera Workshops Director prior to the beginning of the program.

Sun Valley Music Festival side-by-side concert: Concert blacks (see above) unless otherwise discussed with Chamber Orchestra conductor.

Additional concert attire requirements:

  • Skirts should be knee length or longer
  • Blouses should be ¾ length sleeve or longer
  • No jeans
  • No high heels
  • No athletic shoes
  • Please contact Department Head, Program Director, or Site Coordinator with questions regarding concert attire

All students applying for the Advanced Chamber Program must submit audition materials to be considered for the program. Please review the instructions below carefully. If you have questions, contact the Music Institute.

Recording submission general instructions

  • Audition recordings are required for this program. Your application will not be processed until recordings are received. Please upload YouTube links, or MP3 files into the boxes provided in the application.
  • High quality studio recordings are not necessary; a recording from a smartphone is fine provided it is a good representation of your work.
  • Private YouTube recordings are preferred. If you have questions about how to record and post private YouTube recordings, contact the Music Institute
  • If you are submitting your application without work samples and need to forward the links at a later date, links may be emailed to [email protected]. Please label the email and the sample clearly.


What to submit

Three work samples are required, and a fourth may be submitted. Please read the following instructions carefully.

  • First selection: One three-octave scale of the student’s choice with major and minor arpeggios. All separate bows. Four notes to mm. 92
  • Second selection: One etude representing the student’s highest skill level.
  • Third selection: One movement of a major concerto or show piece. No accompaniment necessary.
  • Fourth selection (optional): One movement of solo Bach.

Students in the Advanced Chamber Program have several housing options

  • Community School Residence Hall
    • Students age 16 or above may board in the Community School Residence Hall. These double-occupancy, dormitory-style rooms are made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    • The fee for this 13 night stay is $750 and includes all meals.
    • Scholarships are available to help cover the cost of housing.
    • Please download a copy of the Housing Application form here.
  • Many students choose to find their own accommodations during their stay in Sun Valley. As a resort community, the Wood River Valley (the communities of Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey, and Bellevue) offers a broad range of lodging options.Find additional lodging options at
    • Students not boarding in the Residence Hall must provide Music Institute staff with details regarding their accommodations.
  • A very limited number of home stays may be available for students younger than 16 who are not eligible to stay in the Residence Hall. Please contact the Music Institute for details.

Travel to the Music Institute is the responsibility of the student.

  • Early arrival or late check out due to flight schedule, needs to be arranged in advance with the SMI Student/Faculty Services Liaison
  • Sun Valley is located in the Wood River Valley of Central Idaho about 150 miles (2.5 hours) North East of Boise and 80 miles(1.5 hours) North of Twin Falls. Salt Lake City is approximately 300 miles (4.5 hours) to the South.
  • Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) services Sun Valley. There are direct flights from Chicago, Salt Lake City, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles seasonally. It is a small regional airport with limited flight times so please be mindful of recital times, and Residence Hall check-in and check-out when booking flights.

Acceptance into the Advanced Chamber Program is competitive and is based on application information and audition recording as well as program needs.

Students not accepted into the Advanced Chamber Program are encouraged to enroll in the appropriate Summer Program for students in grades 2-12

Notification of acceptance will be sent to students in early MAY along with a statement of fees due.


Due to the generosity of Festival donors, students only pay a modest application and materials fee for the program as described below.

Application Fee: $30 (due at time of application, non-refundable)

Materials Fee: $220 includes Music Institute polo shirt required for performances (billed to you upon acceptance)

Room and board fees (Residence Hall boarders only):

Boarding Deposit: $50 (due at time of application if planning to stay in the Residence Hall, refunded if you are not accepted into the program)

Residence Hall Fees: $750 (deposit will be applied to this total)


TOTAL BOARDING FEES (if applicable): $750


Application fee ($30) and Boarding deposit ($50 if applicable) are paid when application is submitted

You will be billed for the remainder of the fees upon acceptance to the program in early May. If you applied for a scholarship, those awards will be indicated on this bill.  If you did not apply for a scholarship and wish to, contact the Music Institute Office.

Remaining Program and Boarding fees (if applicable) are due June 15.  If you need additional time to pay or would like to pay in installments, please contact the Music Institute Office.


Please understand the importance of making a commitment to this program. Since ensembles are formed and music is sent in advance, it is not easy to replace group members at the last minute. Out of respect for your fellow group members, please inform the Festival by JUNE 15, if you are unable to attend for any reason. A last-minute cancellation may affect your acceptance in future years.

The $30 application fee is non-refundable and will be applied to the total due upon acceptance.

The $50 room and board deposit is refundable if not accepted into the program.  If accepted, it will be applied to total boarding fees.

Full refund of program and boarding fees: up to June 15

Partial refund of program and boarding fees (one half total) : up to July 15

NO REFUNDS after July 15

Private lessons:

Some disciplines include private sessions with their instructors during the 2-week program; additional private lessons are optional and subject to availability of instructors at the following rate:
$65/hr. $35/half –hour

Scholarships are available and are awarded based on the following criterion:

  • Financial need of the student
  • Talent of the student in a specific discipline
  • Needs of the program to strengthen a particular ensemble or group.

In general, the maximum award is for half the cost of tuition and boarding.

Download a Scholarship Application here.

  • Regular meals are provided for students boarding in the Residence Hall only.
  • All other students should bring a sack lunch daily as there is no access to restaurants on campus.
  • There may be occasional special events where dinner is provided.
  • Light snacks will be served at breaks each day.
  • Students must attend all assigned classes and rehearsals. If you must leave for some reason you must notify a staff person.
  • Campus is closed. Students are expected to remain on campus for the duration of the program each day including lunch breaks unless arrangements have been made and cleared by the Site-Coordinator. (Lunches for boarding students will be brought to campus each day, other students should bring a sack lunch, there are no dining facilities on campus)
  • There is no formal dress code, but students are expected to dress respectfully while on campus or participating in program events. No bare midriffs, short shorts, or t-shirts with distasteful slogans or logos.
  • Concert attire: See CONCERT ATTIRE section above. Please note that the Sun Valley area is in rural Idaho with very limited access to shopping.  Please read Concert Attire section closely and be sure to bring all required items.