Third Street music school merges with InterSchool Orchestras of New York to form largest youth ensemble program in NYC

Trumpet in the school band.
Photo via Getty Images

Two New York City music schools are coming together to offer the largest youth ensemble program in the city.

Third Street Music School Settlement announced that InterSchool Orchestras of New York (ISO) would come under their umbrella of music instruction. With a combined 175 years of experience in music education, this partnership continues the missions of both organizations to ensure access to high-quality instruction for students.

“We are so pleased to welcome the ISO families, students and faculty to the Third Street community,” said Valerie G. Lewis, the Anna-Maria Kellen Executive Director. “Third Street and ISO were founded to connect young people to the music education they deserve and introduce them to the joys of group music making. During this challenging time, student ensembles play a critical role in helping children and teens avoid social isolation.”

As a result of the partnership, Third Street will be able to offer six orchestras for hundreds of students ages 8 to 18 and ISO’s orchestras to continue to flourish with the administrative and professional support of Third Street. The three additional orchestras that will now be offered will be called ISO at Third Street. The acquisition is expected to be completed by January, and Third Street will immediately assume primary responsibility for the operation of the ISO program, with completion of ISO’s transfer expected to be completed following receipt of required government approvals later this year.

This new orchestra program will offer generous financial assistance to students who otherwise would be unable to afford orchestral study and performance experiences. Both institutions quickly pivoted to virtual instruction at the start of the pandemic in March and will continue online this fall. Third Street anticipates that in-person rehearsals will return slowly in the new year.

“We are so excited to affiliate with an enduring and respected organization like Third Street and benefit from its deep bench of artistic resources,” said Barbara Tracy, ISO Board President. “Our missions to reach disadvantaged students with the highest caliber of instruction are perfectly matched.”

All students are required to audition to determine skill level and placement into the appropriate orchestra. To schedule an audition, email Ivan Antonov at [email protected] or call 212-777-3240.