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Thank you for your interest in Fortissima, Colburn School’s leadership and artistic development program for young women from underrepresented minorities in classical music. Fortissima is designed to inspire, equip, and empower diverse young women who demonstrate excellence on an orchestral instrument to pursue professional training and careers in the performing arts. We look forward to receiving your application!

Participant Criteria
  • Must be enrolled as a high school student in October 2021
  • Participants identify as women/girls from an underrepresented minority group in classical music (for more information please see this document from the League of American Orchestras)
  • Demonstrate excellence on an orchestral instrument (includes piano)
  • Ideal candidates also possess an interest or curiosity in pursuing careers in the performing arts

Info Sessions:
We will be hosting two general information sessions open to any interested applicants who want to learn more about the program, get tips for your application, or have any questions answered.
  • Info session 1 - February 22 at 4 pm PST / 7 pm EST
  • Info session 2 - March 24 at 4 pm PST / 7 pm EST
Zoom links for these sessions will be posted on the Colburn Website one week before each session. Visit this page for more information:

Program Overview:

(Virtual) Mentorship and Leadership Training - May through October, 2021
  • Monthly meeting with a distinguished mentor (for mentor biographies, visit
  • Bi-monthly leadership and career development training sessions in preparation for residential intensive

(In-Person) Residential Intensive at the Colburn School October 30 - November 6, 2021
  • Experience conservatory life first-hand:
    • Trial lessons with Colburn faculty
    • Conservatory class observations
    • Access to Colburn facilities
  • Explore the arts in Los Angeles
    • Attend concerts on Grand Avenue
    • Learn from local arts leaders spearheading innovation in the field
  • Panels and workshops on topics such as:
    • Navigating the world of classical music as a woman of color
    • Wellness, self-care, and personal development
    • Conservatory audition and admissions process
    • Presentation skills, professional materials, and career development strategies
  • Artistic development opportunities:
    • Learn and perform works by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), women, and living composers
    • Chamber music coaching from Music Director, Jannina Norpoth, as well as Colburn School and visiting faculty
    • Give a culminating performance in Colburn School’s Thayer Hall on November 6, 2021
  • Access to ongoing alumni programming at conclusion of the program

*Program (including travel to residential intensive) is provided at no cost to participants

For more information about Fortissima, visit

For questions please contact Jazmín Morales, Assistant Director, Center for Innovation and Community Impact at the Colburn School