Summer 2020

CHARLES IVES MUSIC FESTIVAL – Tentatively October 7-12, 2020
Featuring graduates of the Juilliard School and other major conservatories as Artist-Faculty

August 2020 Update
Stay tuned – If feasible, we hope to hold a modified in-person program this October and will make an announcement shortly. In the event we are able to proceed, we will ask currently enrolled participants to recommit and simultaneously reopen our online application for those new, interested applicants who did not previously apply. Please email us at anytime with questions about the application process or the festival. 

Stay connected this summer – Join us on August 12th for a live, in-person concert outdoors at Lounsbury House in downtown Ridgefield, CT featuring CIMF Artist-Faculty! CIMF Artistic Director, Paul Frucht, will lead a pre-concert talk at 6:00 PM with music beginning at 6:30. Click here to register to attend and to read more about the concert.

Stay positive, look forward  – There will be a moment in the future when we come together to make music. We will do everything possible to make that moment as rewarding and meaningful as possible.



To see what we have planned for the Charles Ives Music Festival, click here: CIMF Youth Summer Program – SCHEDULE

Note: All daily events will take place at the First Congregational Church, Ridgefield, CT (103 Main Street)

The Charles Ives Music Festival at the WCYO invites all instrumentalists ages 21 and under who have a driven passion for music, are committed to the pursuit of a high level of music performance, and have at least two years of experience on their instrument. Throughout the week, participants will work extensively with artist-faculty in a unique and inspiring artistic environment to develop their artistry and musicianship. CIMF is led by artistic director, Paul Frucht, and associate artistic director, Jon Cziner. 


– The Festival runs 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday

– Participants will each rehearse in two chamber music groups culminating in a concert performance on Sunday, August 16th. Each group will include at least one Artist-Faculty member who will lead all rehearsals throughout the week. Artist-Faculty include flutist Katie Althen, trumpeter/conductor Eric Mahl, percussionist/composer Paul Frucht, violinists George Meyer and Chelsea Starbuck Smith, violists Molly Goldman, Jacob Shack and Caeli Smith, cellists Mitch Lyon and Ariana Nelson, and pianists George Fu and Mika Sasaki. More Artist-Faculty may be added.

– Participants who play orchestral instruments will rehearse and perform as members of the CIMF Orchestra led by WCYO Music Director, Eric Mahl. Seating will be determined by applicants’ auditions and/or their participation in the WCYO if applicable. Pianists will participate in piano ensemble and/or repertoire classes led by Mika Sasaki and George Fu, CIMF piano Artist-Faculty. Saxophonists must also audition on an orchestral instrument to perform in orchestra.

– Participants will each receive one 45-minute private lesson with an Artist-Faculty member.

– Participants will receive tickets to all CIMF artist concerts throughout the week, which will feature several Guest Artists, including cellist Julian Schwarz, pianist Marika Bournaki, and the Ulysses Quartet. 

– Participants will attend master classes led by the Artist-Faculty and Guest Artists focusing on both solo and chamber works. Participants will also attend specialized activities such as improvisation, composition, and Alexander Technique.

– Tuition for CIMF is $625 for non-WCYO members and $575 for current WCYO members. Need-based Scholarships are available. All applicants who apply and are admitted to CIMF will be permitted to attend regardless of financial circumstances.

– Participants will receive a professional, archival recording of their performances with their chamber groups and with the CIMF Orchestra. 


– The CIMF Composition program is directed by CIMF Associate Artistic Director, Jonathan Cziner.

– CIMF composers hear one work rehearsed and performed by CIMF Artist-Faculty and guest artists and another read by the CIMF Orchestra, led by Music Director Eric Mahl. All performances and readings are professionally recorded and composers will be given the recordings at the conclusion of CIMF. 

– CIMF composers also receive private lessons from the 2020 CIMF Composer-in-Residence Kati Agoc and either Jonathan Cziner or Paul Frucht, CIMF Artistic Director.

– Throughout the week,CIMF composers participate in daily seminars with guest composers, guest artists, and the artistic directors as well as seminars discussing orchestration, repertoire, and other subjects of interest led by Jonathan Cziner. 

– All CIMF Composers are required to also participate on an orchestral instrument or piano and audition for CIMF on that instrument in addition to the required composition program materials listed below. 


– Complete the secure online application using the link above. Or, download and print the application form using the link above and send it as an email attachment to, or mail the form to the following address:  WCYO, PO Box 964, Ridgefield, CT 06877

– Non-WCYO members will be charged an application fee of $15 for applications received on or before January 15, 2020 and all applicants will be charged $30 after that date.

– Current WCYO members and participants in the CIMF Fall Weekend Workshop will not be charged an application fee for applications received on or before January 15, 2020 and will be charged $30 for applications received after that date. 

– All application forms must be postmarked no later than Friday, March 20, 2020 if sent by mail or submitted no later than 11:59 PM EST on Friday, March 20, 2020 if completed online or emailed.

– Non-WCYO members are required to audition for admission into CIMF. Auditions will take place March 28th and 29th at First Congregational Church in Ridgefield. Prospective participants are encouraged to audition in person, but if that is not possible due to a scheduling conflict, prospective participants may audition by video submitted no later than March 20th, 2020. Videos should be submitted either as email attachments or via Google Drive or another data sharing service such as Dropbox. Please upload a video of yourself performing two contrasting works and put them in a folder titled “‘Your Name – CIMF 2020”. Share a link to the folder with and

– Current WCYO members and participants in the CIMF Fall Weekend Workshop do not need to audition for participation in CIMF and are automatically accepted to participate on the instrument on which they perform in the WCYO. However, if a WCYO member wishes to participate on an instrument on which they do not perform in the WCYO (i.e. a flute player in Wind Ensemble who wishes to also participate in CIMF on piano), they must audition on their “non-WCYO” instrument. They may audition in person or by video (see above bullet point). Composers in the WCYO must also submit the required composition materials (see below) to participate in CIMF as composers.

– Letters of Recommendation may be submitted, but not required. Letters should be sent via email to


Woodwinds, Brass, Harp, Strings:
– Any two contrasting solo works. One of these works may be replaced by two orchestral excerpts of your choosing. Please keep in mind we cannot provide a piano accompanist at the audition. If you wish to perform a piece that requires piano accompaniment, you must provide your own accompanist. A piano will be available.
– All Major scales and arpeggios.
– Sight-reading. 

– At least two contrasting solo works (ex. a Classical Sonatina and Romantic work)
– Scales and arpeggios, hands together, in selected (by the student) major/minor keys
– Sight-reading. 

– Any two contrasting solo works. One of these should be on a mallet instrument and the other should be on snare drum or timpani. 
– All Major scales and arpeggios. 
– Sight-reading on both a mallet instrument and snare drum. 

– PDF Scores and MP3 recordings (MIDI is acceptable) of 1-3 works composed since January 1, 2015. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these be a chamber work that could be performed at CIMF.
– Complete works list of all compositions including names of pieces, instrumentation, dates of completion, and any details of performances.
– All materials should be sent to 

Please contact us with any questions at or (203) 894-8786.

Charles Ives Music Festival at the WCYO reserves the right to make changes of any nature in the program based upon enrollment and represented instrumentation. This includes changes in content, cancelling of scheduled activities, or substitution of activities.