Program Dates: July 17-28, 2017

The Music Academy of the West is home to a unique full-scholarship outreach program that sharpens young minds through an intensive regimen of music performance and instruction. Inaugurated in 1998, the MERIT (Music Education Reinforces Intellect and Talent) Program provides musicians ages 11 to 17 with intensive mentoring from Music Academy fellows including: private instruction, chamber music coaching, masterclass participation, and social activities. Participants also have the opportunity to observe some masterclasses and rehearsals led by Music Academy faculty. The MERIT program is open to players of all orchestral instruments as well as pianists. MERIT fellows perform in concert at Hahn Hall on Friday, July 28 at noon. This performance is free and open to the public.

Please Note: The MERIT program is a weekday program lasting from 9:30 am to 3 pm. Lunch is provided as part of the program and parents take turns bringing snacks for all participants. No overnight accommodations are provided.

How to Apply

The application deadline has passed, and the live auditions took place Sat, March 11. Please fill out the Merit Application Request Form to be considered for the 2018 program.

Audition Requirements

  • Two pieces or movements of contrasting styles.
  • Applicants should have the full movement or work prepared.
  • Piano accompaniment is not required and must be provided by the applicant if desired.

For video submissions: Please submit two links, one for each piece. The full piece or movement should be recorded, without any breaks or stops in the recording.


Kelly MacLennan
MERIT program coordinator

Nico Abondolo
MERIT program faculty advisor

A full-scholarship program, MERIT is supported by Patricia and Larry Durham, Connie Frank and Evan Thompson, The Cheeryble Foundation, The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, The Henry E. and Lola Monroe Foundation, the Elizabeth Firth Wade Foundation, and Goldman Sachs.