How to Audition Like a Boss!

How to Audition Like a Boss!

Monday, October 16, 2017: 5:00pm


Are you preparing to audition for colleges, summer festivals, competitions, and/or gigs? Does the thought of getting up in front of an audition panel give you nightmares? Then this is the workshop for you! New York Youth Symphony has put together 4 days of intensive audition preparation workshops designed to help you overcome your fears and play your best! 

The workshop includes mock auditions and master classes with musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music, plus individual sessions with performance coach Cory Lee of the Liberated Performer and instruction on Alexander Technique with Lori Schiff. Students will receive video of their “before” and “after” mock auditions. 

This program is open to students between the ages of 12 to 22. Registration in other NYYS program is not required. 

Fee: $650 (Scholarships Available)




Strings: Shanshan Yao, violin; Alan Stepansky, cello
Winds: William Short, bassoon; Linda Chesis, flute
Brass: Michelle Baker, horn; Ethan Bensdorf, trumpet
Alexander Technique: Lori Schiff
Liberated Performer: Cory Lee

Schedule of Events:

Monday, October 16, 5-8pm; National Opera Center

  • Mock Auditions
  • Session with Cory Lee, Liberated Performer (basics of anxiety, establishing motivations for overcoming anxiety, preparation, managing techniques, etc.)

Thursday, October 19, 5-8pm; National Opera Center

  • Alexander Technique session with Lori Schiff
  • Masterclasses with Alan Stepansky (strings), Linda Chesis (winds), and Michelle Baker (brass)
  • One-on-one sessions with Cory Lee

Sunday, October 22, 12:30-1:30pm, DiMenna Center

  • Applying to Colleges Workshop: Admissions representatives from The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Vanderbilt University, and Cleveland Institute of Music will discuss the audition and application process. Ask questions and get tips on how to be a strong candidate. 

Monday, October 23, 5-8pm; National Opera Center

  • Session with Cory Lee (core strategies, the Liberated Performer activity list, performance mindsets, pre-performance routines, call to action, etc.)
  • Masterclasses with Shanshan Yao (strings), William Short (winds), and Ethan Bensdorf (brass)
  • One-on-one sessions with Cory Lee

Thursday, October 26, 5-8pm; National Opera Center

  • Final Mock Auditions 



Faculty Biographies:

Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, Michelle Reed Baker earned her Bachelor of Music from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston—where she studied with Julie Landsman, Nancy Goodearl, and Jay Andrus—and her Master of Music at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of James Chambers. Ms. Baker was second horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 1990-2017 and was previously a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and a regular substitute with the New York Philharmonic. Her new life finds her focusing on teaching, free-lancing (Mostly Mozart Orchestra, the newly formed Montclair Orchestra, ProMusica, San Diego Symphony), and spending time with family. Ms. Baker serves on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, Montclair State College, Mannes College of Music, and is an assistant professor at The Juilliard School. She has given master classes at the Texas Music Festival, Boston University, Western Michigan University, Kinhaven, and the University of Delaware and the International Horn Society featured her in its “Ask the Pros” series in 2009. She appears each summer at Music on the Hill in Rhode Island and at the Round Top Music Festival in Texas. She has also taught and coached at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. 

Ethan Bensdorf joined the New York Philharmonic’s trumpet section in 2008, after spending the 2007–08 season as acting assistant principal trumpet with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in Naples, Florida. He received his bachelor of music degree from Northwestern University in 2007, where he studied with Barbara Butler, Charles Geyer, and Christopher Martin. While a student at Northwestern, Mr. Bensdorf spent two years performing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and also performed with the New World Symphony and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary ensemble, MusicNOW. In May 2005, Mr. Bensdorf was selected to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts representing Northwestern University as part of “The Conservatory Project” recital series. In September of 2006, Mr. Bensdorf received the Armando Ghitalla International Trumpet Classic Award, which included solo appearances with the United States Coast Guard Band and the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts. He also spent two summers as a participant in the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan; one summer at the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland; and was selected as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summers of 2006 and 2007, where he received the Voisin Trumpet Award.

Linda Chesis, flutist and founder and artistic director of the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, has been hailed by critics on three continents as one of the most exciting and dynamic flutists of her generation. She has collaborated with such renowned artists as Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw, James Levine, and the late Jean-Pierre Rampal and has performed with orchestras and in solo recitals throughout the U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and Korea. Ms. Chesis received a B.A. from Yale College with a major in the History of Art. She was awarded Yale’s John Courtney Murray Fellowship and a Rotary International Fellowship, which allowed her to continue flute studies for two years with Jean-Pierre Rampal at the Paris Conservatory. One week after receiving the Conservatory’s Premier Prix, she was appointed principal flute of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Top prizewinner at the Paris and Barcelona International Competitions, and at the National Flute Association Competition, Ms. Chesis has been the recipient of many additional awards, including a Solo Recitalist’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been the subject of numerous television and radio broadcasts, and her performances can be regularly heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today. Ms. Chesis is on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. Her recordings can be heard on the EMI, Nonesuch, and Music Masters labels.

Cory Lee is the founder and executive coach of Liberated Performer. Liberated Performer is a program that helps musicians overcome performance anxiety in order to play their best at auditions and concerts. He has coached a variety of musicians ranging from children to professionals who perform with the New York Philharmonic and The Metropolitan Opera. Many of the musicians he has worked with have gone on to win prestigious conservatory auditions, international competitions, professional auditions, and most importantly, develop a new appreciation for performing. He has given presentations and workshops around the country including stops at The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and the San Francisco Conservatory. In addition to coaching, he embodies the Liberated Performer lifestyle by performing as an active soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared as a soloist on the great American stages ranging from Carnegie Hall’s Stern and Zankel Auditoriums to Northern America’s largest dance festivals, EDC Las Vegas and Electric Zoo. Cory is currently a violinist in the string quartet ETHEL which is acclaimed as “unfailingly vital” (The New York Times), “brilliant,” “downtown’s reigning string quartet” (The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (Strad Magazine). He tours internationally and has worked with Multi-Grammy Award winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur Geniuses. Cory received degrees from The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and an honorary doctorate from Denison University.

Lori Schiff is a full time professor of The Alexander Technique at The Juilliard School and a guest-teaching artist for various schools and organizations nationally and internationally. She has been a faculty member of the Juilliard School since 1991 and was in residence at The Aspen Music Festival and School from 1993 - 2015. Ms. Schiff qualified as a Teacher of the Alexander Technique at ACAT-New York in 1987 and continued with postgraduate training with Walter and Dilys Carrington at the Constructive Teaching Centre in London. She is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Music in Trumpet Performance and has her Masters degree in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Schiff has been a guest teaching artist at institutions including the University of Maryland Opera Studio, New World Symphony, U.S. Army Field Band and the U.S. Army Soldier's Chorus, U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, San Diego Symphony, and National Youth Orchestra of China. She has presented master classes at institutions including the Metropolitan Opera, The Juilliard School, Opera America,  West Point, Special Music School in New York, Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, National Orchestral Institute, Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra and New York Youth Symphony, Theater Aspen, and American Center for the Alexander Technique.

William Short was appointed Principal Bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2012. He previously served in the same capacity with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Houston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, he serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Temple University. Mr. Short has presented classes at colleges and conservatories around the country and at the 2014 International Double Reed Society Conference. He has performed and taught at the Lake Champlain, Lake Tahoe, Mostly Mozart, Stellenbosch (South Africa), Strings, Twickenham, and Verbier festivals. In 2015 he made his solo debut with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, performing David Ludwig's Pictures from the Floating World. Mr. Short has toured the United States with Curtis on Tour and has performed and taught in Belize, Cuba, Guatemala, and Nicaragua with the Philadelphia-based wind quintet Liberty Winds. His performances have been featured on American Public Media's “Performance Today” and on WHYY’s “Onstage at Curtis.” An occasional composer, his works have been published by TrevCo-Varner Music. Committed to forging connections between audiences and performers, Mr. Short's articles on the subject can be found on the MET Orchestra Musicians' website, which has been lauded not only by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, but also by noted arts consultant Drew McManus and prolific cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Daniel Matsukawa and Bernard Garfield, and his Master of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Kamins. Mr. Short attended festivals including the Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Verbier Festival. Additional major teachers have included Jeanine Attaway, Kristin Wolfe Jensen, and William Lewis.

Alan Stepansky is recognized as one of the most gifted and versatile cellists of his generation.  After a distinguished orchestral career playing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, serving as Principal Cellist of the Boston Pops, and culminating in a ten-year tenure as Associate Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic, he is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist, and recording artist.  He is currently Professor of Cello and Chair of Strings at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and on the cello and Orchestral Performance faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.  A guest at many summer festivals, he returns each year as faculty artist of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California.  He has performed as a guest artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has appeared in concert with a diverse array of artists including the Takacs and American String Quartets.  He has recorded a series of chamber music and solo discs for EMI, which were honored by Gramophone Magazine, BBC Magazine, the New York Times, and the British Music Industry Association, and has been engaged as the solo cellist for numerous major motion picture soundtracks.  He has also appeared on the albums of many noted recording artists across many genres, including Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, David Byrne, Audra McDonald, Joss Stone, and Sting, with whom he has also appeared in concert. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras and frequently as Guest Principal Cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  After studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and the University of Pennsylvania, he graduated from Harvard University with the Horblit Prize, conferred for his outstanding musical accomplishments. Alan Stepansky’s students have won positions in numerous orchestras around the world, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Montreal Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and have successful careers as soloists, chamber musicians, and teachers.

Violinist Shanshan Yao joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2013. Previously, she was a member of the first violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She recently performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, led by music director Manfred Honeck, as well as with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. As a soloist Ms. Yao has also performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Civic Symphony, Banff Centre Chamber Orchestra, and Japan’s Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Yao has won prizes at the Hellam Young Artists Competition, Shean String Competition, Calgary Concerto Competition, Morningside Music Bridge Concerto Competition, Corpus Christi International Competition, Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand and National Music Festival in Canada. An active chamber musician, Ms. Yao has participated in the Aspen, Summit, and Sarasota music festivals; Music from Angel Fire; The Banff Centre; and Music@MenloMs. Yao began playing violin at age 6 and enrolled at Shanghai Conservatory of Music when she was 9. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 12 with the Shanghai Radio Symphony Orchestra, and continued her studies in Canada at Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy Program. Ms. Yao received her bachelor of music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and her master of music degree from The Juilliard School. Her teachers included Aaron Rosand, Donald Weilerstein, Ronald Copes, William van der Sloot, and Xiaoming Wu.

National Opera Center
330 7th Avenue 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001