Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) Artists' Initiative


The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is a new project that will support current 4th-11th graders from underrepresented communities with whatever they might need to pursue their dream of becoming a professional classical musician. The PMAY Artists’ Initiative will offer students financial support to make lessons, music classes, youth orchestra participation, and summer music camps affordable. Students will be able to attend free college and career preparation workshops, and PMAY teachers and staff will work with each family to make sure each musician has an instrument and a strong plan in place for becoming the best musician he or she can be.

The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is meant to address a major issue in American classical music. Less than 5% of musicians in professional American orchestras are African American or Latino, and the numbers of South Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives are similarly low. Yet the cities that support these orchestras are racially and ethnically diverse places. The PMAY Artists’ Initiative will select a group of 75 young musicians, the first class of PMAY Artists, who will eventually change the face of classical music.

While each PMAY Artist’s plan for study will be different, the estimated value of what each PMAY Artist will receive in financial support is in the thousands of dollars annually.

About the Program

The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is designed for serious music students who have a high musical aptitude and the motivation to pursue a professional music career on a standard orchestral instrument. 

  • Students currently in grades 4-11 may audition

Eligible instruments include:

  • Violin, viola, cello and double bass
  • Flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon
  • Trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba
  • Percussion
  • Harp

This program is open only to orchestral instrumentalists. Applications for piano, saxophone, guitar and voice students will not be accepted.

The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is a collaboration among ten Philadelphia organizations that believe in providing access to music education for all students. PMAY Artists may work closely with one or many of these organizations and their programs, based on the individual needs and goals of the Artists. The ten organizations are:

  • Musicopia
  • Philadelphia Sinfonia
  • Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
  • Play On, Philly!
  • Project 440
  • School District of Philadelphia Office of Music Education
  • Settlement Music School
  • Temple University Music Preparatory Division
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
  • The Primavera Fund

Other Questions? Please email Najib Wong, PMAY Artists' Inititiative Manager, at

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) orchestra students rehearse onstage with Lio Kuokman, assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall during their 2015 Festival.

Are you a current 4th-11th grade student who wants to be part of this exciting new initiative?

About PMAY

The Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) is a collaborative of organizations in the Philadelphia region dedicated to providing music education and performance opportunities to youth. The collaborative started in 2012, and its members share a commitment to improving communities through the regular study of music. Member organizations have formed topic-based working groups that are developing areas of focus and initiatives to expand the impact of its work and that of its member organizations.

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. To this end, it supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.