Sewanee Summer Music Festival and String Academy

Photo courtesy of David Andrews

At a Glance:

  • Sewanee Summer Music Festival is an artistic incubator where musicians work closely with renowned artist-faculty in an intensive, supportive environment. 
  • The four-week Festival is for students ages 14-24 offers orchestral experiences and chamber music study. 
  • The String Academy is a one- or two-week learning opportunity for students 11-13.
  • Sewanee also offers seminars in a range of topics throughout the festival, such as building a freelance career and mock interviews.


Each summer, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival builds an inclusive community designed to offer students the chance to learn and grow together with wonderful colleagues from across the world. In residence on the spectacular campus of the University of the South, Sewanee is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges and has over 13,000 acres of hiking, biking, and breathtaking mountain views.

Sewanee’s faculty come from leading orchestras, chamber ensembles, conservatories, and university programs, spending the summer performing, teaching, and inspiring the next generation. Leading conductors from across the world who are passionate about music and educating new musical leaders guide students through diverse musically and technically demanding orchestral literature.

The Sewanee Summer Music Festival offers two distinct, high level, serious orchestral experiences: The Cumberland Orchestra and The Sewanee Symphony. The Festival Artistic Director, along with guest conductors and the artistic leadership team, selects a range of musically and technically demanding literature for each orchestra to perform. Each ensemble is held in the highest artistic and musical standards possible, rehearsing six times per week and collaborating with faculty soloists. The orchestras are comprised of both pre-college and college participants, allowing for opportunities for mentorship and to build relationships with peers.

In addition to rehearsals, students participate in sectionals and masterclasses, allowing for in-depth study of orchestral literature and opportunities to learn directly from experts in the field. Performances take place throughout the campus and in the surrounding community. 

The String Academy is an extraordinary opportunity for young string players to develop their fundamental performance techniques in small group settings, engaging in chamber music, masterclasses, small group lessons, and ensemble performance practice. Participants also have classes in theory, aural skills, eurythmics, and take part in panel discussions with college students in an environment dedicated to creativity and experiential learning.

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