Who was Marian Anderson?

Philadelphia-born contralto Marian Anderson was one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. She faced tremendous adversity at almost every phase of her early and middle career, but with the support of her community and guidance from renowned vocalists, she quickly rose to international stardom. With support from Eleanor Roosevelt, the NAACP, and others, Anderson delivered a historic open-air concert at the Lincoln memorial in April 9, 1939, after being denied a concert at Constitution Hall because of her race.

Anderson continued to break down barriers for future musicians of color after her iconic performance at Lincoln Memorial. Later in her career, she chose to mentor young artists, helping them get access to educational and performance opportunities. The Marian Anderson Young Artist Program honors her legacy of mentorship and advocacy for young artists who did not have access to training or performance opportunities.

What will the Marian Anderson Young Artist Program offer me?

Marian Anderson Young Artists receive individualized support to reach the highest levels of musical excellence. The Marian Anderson Young Artist Program provides:

  • Weekly private instruction – you will be matched with a master teacher based on your skill level and trajectory. Lessons continue through the summer with a 6-week recess for Apprentices.
  • Access to instruments, supplies, and music
  • Large Ensemble experience
  • Chamber Ensemble experience
  • Leadership opportunities – such as section leader in an orchestra, teaching and mentorship opportunities.
  • Solo performance opportunities (at least twice each year)
  • Masterclass performance and auditing opportunities
  • Career readiness coaching
  • Guidance on planning for future music educational needs (i.e. – advanced instrument costs, how to apply to colleges)

What is the difference between an Apprentice and a Scholar?

Apprentices are students in grades 4-8 who are interested in honing their musical skills but haven’t yet declared an intent to pursue a music-focused program in college.

Scholars are students in grades 8-12 who have declared an intent to pursue a music-focused program in college. The Scholars program is much more rigorous, as students learn what they need to do to prepare for admittance auditions.

Should I apply to the Apprentice program or the Scholar program?

If you are in grades 3-7, you should apply to the Apprentice program. 8th graders can apply to either program – if you are not yet sure if you want to pursue a career in music, apply as an Apprentice. If you are certain this is where you want to go, apply as a Scholar. Students in grades 9-10 must apply as a Scholar with the intent to pursue music in college. 

I am currently in 11th grade. Can I still apply?

Yes. However, you must already have an extensive musical background and proficiency on your instrument. Admission to the Marian Anderson Young Artist Program as an 11th-grader is rare.

If I apply to the Scholar program and I am not accepted, can I still be considered for the Apprentice program?

Yes, but only if you are in 8th grade. 8th graders can apply to either the Scholar or Apprentice program.

Am I required to play with a pianist at the audition?

No. However, we strongly encourage you to choose repertoire with piano so that we can better assess you as a whole musician.

I don't have a pianist to bring to the audition. Is this a problem?

No. One will be provided at the auditions.

Is there a cost to participate if I am accepted?

The Marian Anderson Young Artist Program is tuition-free.

However, If you are accepted into the Marian Anderson Young Artist Program, there is a yearly registration fee of $115. This can be paid in installments. There may be other costs associated with being an Anderson Artist such as travel expenses to lessons or concerts. However, part of our mission is to provide the resources our students need to succeed in a musical career, so many of the costs of participation are covered by our generous donors.

I don’t own my own instrument. Will the Marian Anderson Young Artist Program buy one for me?

No. While we have instruments that we can lend you during your study through high school, it is your responsibility to purchase an instrument for higher education. In partnership with your teacher, we will help you find the best instrument for you, as well as ways to raise the funds (through scholarship, grants, etc). Families of Anderson Artist Scholars are counseled on this at the beginning of each program year.


Contact the Anderson Artist Manager, Dr. Anna Meyer at AndersonArtists@playonphilly.org