About The Academy

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival Academy

 The VBRMF Academy (the ‘Festival Academy’) invites college-age students and other pre-professional musicians, age 18 – 30, to join distinguished faculty mentors in the collaborative  preparation and performance of symphonic and chamber music at the Festival.   The next Academy will run  May 27 – June 7, 2015 — with the Application process starting in December 2014.

The Festival Symphony Orchestra – the Academy Fellows and Professional Musicians  is conducted by Artistic Director, David Stewart Wiley.

Professional musicians from across the United States will form mentoring relationships with highly motivated Academy Fellows who aspire to the highest level of musical proficiency. 

The Academy Program

Symphony orchestra mentoring and performance.

Chamber music/ensemble mentoring and performance.

Rehearsal techniques to achieve a high level of performance in relatively short time.

Individual study with faculty.

Informal performance opportunities at local venues (restaurants, galleries, Country Store, etc.).


Interaction with composers to explore current trends in new music.

Master classes

Workshops to address non-performance aspects of a successful musical career, such as:  audition preparation; business practices for a successful musical career;  networking; resume building.

Interaction with a welcoming and interesting (awesome) rural community nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains that values sustainable living and the arts, including exposure to its own unique heritage music traditions.

Concerto Competition

 A Concerto Competition will culminate in performances with the Festival Symphony Orchestra by two or three of the winners.   All Academy Fellows are eligible to apply for this event (except for piano in 2015; special performance opportunities will be provided for pianists in Celebration Hall and other venues with piano).  Auditions will be held in the Spring via tapes and references; further details to follow.  In addition, approximately ten Fellows will have an opportunity to perform movements of concertos with piano accompaniment at Concerto Night in Celebration Hall. 

Tuition and Financial Assistance

 The 2015 tuition for Academy Fellows is $1250.  Financial assistance – based upon musical ability and financial need — may be available for those who can only cover a portion of the tuition.  Full scholarships may be available for extraordinary talent with need.   Academy Fellows are entitled to a private lesson with an orchestra mentor at no additional charge and may schedule additional one-on-one lessons at additional charges as schedules permit. 

 Academy Applications will be accepted from the following instrumental areas:

violin, viola, cello, bass,  flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon,

horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, percussion, piano 

How To Apply

The 2015 Festival Academy Application and audition requirements will be posted on this link:      Academy Application            (If you have difficulty getting the PDF  files, contact Wallace Easter — easterw@me.com — and  the PDFs will be emailed to you.)

The Festival Academy will accept Applications starting mid-December 2014. The application fee is $40 for complete applications received before March 1, 2015.   For complete applications received after March 1, 2015, the fee is $50 and will be accepted on a space-available basis.  We anticipate that most Admissions will be completed by April 15th.