Senior Session – Overview

Anthony Mazzocchi and Deborah Buck, Directors

Friday June 24, 2022 – Sunday August 7, 2022

During the six-week Senior Session, 90 young musicians gather on Kinhaven’s beautiful campus in Weston, Vermont, to play chamber music, chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra, and large ensembles. In addition, there are private music lessons, large and small chorales, and spontaneous music-making. A robust arts and activities program includes options to engage in pottery and art, folk dancing, a swimming pond, hiking and other field trips, and walks to the town center. With its rich programs, cherished traditions, and glorious food, students form lifelong friendships at Kinhaven, and many return year after year.

The program is led by Tony Mazzocchi and Deborah Buck and complemented by a faculty of world-class professional musicians who specialize in working with talented, dedicated high school-aged students. Faculty reside on campus, and everyone comes together at mealtimes to share delicious farm-to-table food prepared on the premises.

What is Senior Session? Watch this short video to find out.

Chamber Music

Chamber music is at the heart of Kinhaven’s program. Each student is assigned to a chamber group with a coach and a musical work appropriate to the group’s ability. Teachers set aside time to discuss how each student is progressing and to create freshly-balanced chamber ensembles each week – each with a faculty coach who helps the group navigate the piece that has been handpicked to suit, and challenge, every player. After studying and performing the composition, you will be assigned to other ensembles with new coaches and new pieces.

Large Ensemble

We form large ensembles to explore the literature for string orchestra, woodwind, brass, percussion, and combined ensembles.

Orchestra

The orchestra plays a classical symphonic repertoire. Nightly rehearsals culminate in the performance of a movement or two or an overture every Sunday afternoon. Orchestral seatings are non-competitive and rotated each week, and renowned guest conductors bring their individual visions to the repertoire. Here are recent examples from the past few years:

Brahms, First and Second Symphonies
Shostakovich, Fifth and Tenth Symphonies
Sibelius, Second Symphony
Tschaikovsky, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies
Mozart, Jupiter Symphony
Stravinsky, Rite of Spring
Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique
Mahler, First Symphony
Respighi, Pines of Rome
Hindemith, Symphonic Metamorphosis
Liszt, Les Préludes
Debussy, La Mer
Bartok, Dance Suite
Bernstein, West Side Story
Strauss, Till Eulenspiegel

Chorus

Three times a week, all students gather as a chorus. This chorus includes singers with a wide range of technical ability. The first half of the summer is devoted to learning madrigals, chorales, and rounds. In the second half, a large work, usually a Bach cantata, is prepared for the final concert. It is through this communal singing that we come closest to the founders’ vision of music-making.

Chamber Choir

Serious singers may join the Chamber Choir and study madrigals, chamber cantatas, and other works for small choir.

Composition

Composition study is available to any interested student. Beginners can attend small group classes with our composer-in-residence (no previous experience composing music or theory is necessary), while more advanced students can take private lessons and meet every week as a group. And even for those who do study formally at Kinhaven, weekly seminars on issues of composition and new music cover topics such as instrumentation and orchestration, preparation of score and parts, techniques in analysis, notation, score study, and repertoire.

Each summer, we present a Student Composers’ Concert dedicated to the performance of our students’ chamber works. Students who complete a work can have it rehearsed by their peers, coached by a faculty member, and hear it performed live. Pieces for this concert can be composed before coming to Kinhaven, or during a student’s time at Kinhaven.

Kinhaven is fortunate to have Nicolas Scherzinger, Chair of the Composition and Theory Departments at the Setnor School of Music, Syracuse University. He holds a DMA in composition from the Eastman School of Music.

All students who study composition will also fully participate in our standard curriculum on their orchestral instrument.

Private Lessons & Master Classes

Students will have at least one private lesson a week on their major instrument. Teachers may meet with students more often to review progress. This close personal support helps students prepare for performances and adopt productive practice habits. Many teachers host a studio/performance class so that students have the chance to perform solo works.

Kinhaven also invites world-class clinicians to campus, so that our students can engage them in master classes throughout the summer.

Recreation

Our 31-acre campus enjoys a beautiful swimming pond, volleyball court, soccer field, basketball court, and ping pong tables. Hikes and walks into town are easily organized, while our Activities Staff plans outings, games, folk dancing, scavenger hunts, a regatta-style boat race, and strawberry picking.

The art house has a fully equipped pottery studio with a kiln and potters’ wheels. Sculpture, drawing, painting, carving, silk-screening, and even tie dying are available. Quiet time is precious too: afternoons can be spent reading, practicing, playing chess or cards, composing, or indulging in a favorite Kinhaven pastime, hill-sitting.

Daily Schedule

7:30 – Breakfast
8:30 – Practice Period, Private Lessons
9:30 – String Orchestra, Large Ensembles, Chorus
10:30 – Chamber Music
11:30 – Practice, Lessons, Chamber Choir
1:00 – Lunch
2:00 – Recreational Activities / Practice Time
6:00 – Dinner
7:30 – Symphony Orchestra
9:30 – Snacks
10:30 – Bed Time

Performances

Every piece culminates in a performance open to families, friends, and the public. Our world-class faculty also performs weekly. Student concerts are Fridays at 4 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM. (Student concerts are also streamed live.) Faculty concerts are Saturdays at 7:30 PM.

Eligibility

Senior Session is open to students enrolled in the eighth through twelfth grades. Students are required to attend all six weeks of the program.

Instrumentation

We accept students within the following instrument families:

  • Orchestral strings (violin, viola, cello, bass)
  • Orchestral winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon)
  • Orchestral brass (horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba)
  • Orchestral percussion (snare/traps/keyboards, timpani)
  • Piano

Learn More

  • Request a brochure
  • Contact us at or (973) 378-5854

Tuition & Financial Aid

Our all-inclusive tuition is $7,200 (including $900 deposit). All tuition payments are non-refundable, except in the event of a forced cancellation.

Financial aid is available to qualified students who demonstrate need. If you have questions about financial aid, we encourage you to submit an application and contact our office.

How to Apply

Students may apply online starting December 1st. We accept applications until each studio has been filled (typically by mid-spring). Applicants should prepare a 5–10 minute representative sample of their playing ability. Visit our Apply page for submission requirements and scheduling information, as well as a FAQ section for applicants, parents, and teachers.

Kinhaven Music School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, place of birth, or age or against a qualified disabled individual, in its admissions, financial aid, education programs, activities or employment policies.