The Chelsea Symphony is a non-profit, self-governing orchestra that aims to provide performance opportunities for its musicians while operating at an affordable scale. Soloists, conductors, and featured composers all come from within the ensemble’s ranks, and earn this benefit by playing with the orchestra. Our policies for featured musicians, as well as general policies for musicians and information about how we work, are described below.


1) TCS offers a solo or composition opportunity for musicians who accrue sixty (60) points with the orchestra. “Solo” refers to a featured performer opportunity and will be referred to as “solo” or “soloist” regardless of number of featured performers. Each concert and rehearsal count for two (2) points. In order for the rehearsals and/or concerts on a series to be eligible for points, a musician must perform on all concerts and may miss no more than one rehearsal for that series. Prior notice (preferably three (3) days before the rehearsal date or with reasonable notice for extenuating circumstances) must be provided for the missed rehearsal. In such instances, the musician will not earn points for the missed rehearsal but will earn points for the other services provided during that series. If prior notice is not provided, the absence will be considered unexcused and no points will be earned for the series.

2) Points are cumulative across seasons; a solo/composition benefit may be earned across multiple seasons. It is possible to earn partial points for a series, e.g., if a musician subs on a rehearsal but is not rostered for the concert.

If a musician is more than fifteen (15) minutes late for a rehearsal or part of a rehearsal on which they are scheduled without prior notice to the rosterer, only one (1) point may be earned for that rehearsal. TCS’s intent is to have clear and transparent expectations on who will be at a given rehearsal.

3) All solo/composition benefits are earned after accruing all the necessary points.

Once a solo/composition benefit has been confirmed and scheduled, a musician's points reset to zero. Points earned thereafter will count towards the next benefit.

4) Representatives from the TCS board keep attendance records.

5) In the current season (approximately winter/spring), the Artistic Director(s) will contact all musicians who are eligible to perform a solo or have a composition performed with TCS in the following season. Musicians who have played with TCS within the last twelve calendar months at the point of soloist planning will be given preference. Musicians who intend to exercise this benefit should communicate their wishes with the Artistic Director(s) at that time. If a musician has redeemed their benefit within the last two seasons, the Artistic Director(s) reserve the right to defer to the following season.

6) Solos and new works are programmed in collaboration with the Artistic Director(s), with considerations given to length, instrumentation, and artistic accord with the program and season theme.

7) Individual solo works will be performed on one of the two dates of a concert series. Collaborative works (concerti with more than one soloist using a TCS solo benefit, or a solo work written by a TCS composer) and composition benefit pieces may be performed on both concert dates if availability permits. Every effort will be made to accommodate date preference.

8) Soloists/composers are required to play in the orchestra for the second half of the concert of the related series, and attend all rehearsals for that half. They are also required to play for all of the performances on the series in which they are featured.

9) Soloists and composers are responsible for providing a biography, an 8x10 (or similar ratio/size) digital headshot for the program at the beginning of the season for which the benefit is scheduled, and program notes for the piece no later than four weeks before the first rehearsal.

10) The orchestra will subsidize either 50% or $100 (whichever is less) of the cost of rental music. The Artistic Director(s) will assist with determining rental costs, and rental orders will be placed by TCS. You are required to submit your portion of the rental fees to Christine Todd prior to the first rehearsal of the series.

In addition, if the desired instrumentation for a benefit piece exceeds what is required on the concert series otherwise, the beneficiary (soloist or composer) is responsible for recruiting extra musicians and any additional costs associated with the added instruments.

11) Once scheduled, your benefit opportunity is a firm commitment that you are expected to fulfill. Cancellation will generally result in a loss of your benefit opportunity. In order to be considered for another solo or composition, you will need to earn the benefit again as described above.

12) Soloists and composers will not earn points for their benefit series.

13) The Artistic Directors and board have full discretion over featured performer(s), performance on alternate instruments, repertoire, and/or endeavors that are different than what the eligible soloist has primarily performed on or as with TCS. Such requests must come during the planning stages. Additionally such discretion is extended to final performance decisions; the Artistic Directors may make changes to the length of a solo or composition and have full authority to pull or amend pieces if the solo or composition is not of an acceptable caliber. If such decisions are made, they will communicate this to the soloist or composer by the date of the last full rehearsal.


1) Prior to or in conjunction with earning points as outlined above, prospective composers should submit a work sample to the TCS resident composer and Artistic Directors who have discretionary rights to allow for performance. This vetting process will be complete within 4 weeks of work sample submission.

2) The length of the compositions should not exceed 8-10 minutes. Works that feature a musician who has earned the solo benefit described above may be longer. The length of a collaborative work will be determined in consultation with the Artistic Director(s), but will generally not exceed 25 minutes.

3) Compositions should be playable by a chamber orchestra [2222-2220 timp str]. Additional musicians may be used depending on the other repertoire on a given program. Exceptions to these guidelines will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

4) Composers are expected to arrive early to each rehearsal (thirty (30) minutes) to help set up and distribute music.

5) A completed score must be submitted to the conductor and Artistic Director(s) four weeks in advance of the first rehearsal. PDF parts must be submitted to the conductor and Artistic Director(s) two weeks in advance of the first rehearsal. The conductor must approve a change in the deadline for score or part submissions in advance. The composer is responsible for providing hard copies of the conductor’s score and all parts to the orchestra, and for having an additional hard copy of each part readily available at all services.


1) A prospective conductor is added to TCS’s conductor roster when an existing conductor leaves or the need arises, as determined by the TCS board. At that point a formal process to select a TCS conductor will be announced.

2) TCS conductors are to earn 60 points per season in order to receive the benefit of conducting opportunities during that season. Failure to earn the minimum number of points will result in a review of appointment by the TCS board.

3) TCS conductors will conduct a first half of one series (concerti and new composition) and a second half of a different series (significant orchestral work).

4) Every effort will be made to accommodate schedule preferences and repertoire choice although neither is guaranteed.

5) The conductor whose responsibility it is to conduct the first half of a given concert is also expected to create a specific rehearsal schedule for that series with input from soloists, composer, the other conductor, and the board. This schedule should be finalized no later than the Wednesday of the week prior to the first rehearsal.

6) Conductors are required to play in the orchestra for the half of the concert series in which they are not conducting, and attend all rehearsals for that half. They are also required to play for all of the performances for the series in which they are featured.

7) Conductors are responsible for providing a biography, an 8x10 (or similar ratio/size) digital headshot for the program at the beginning of the season, and program notes for all pieces no later than four weeks before the related first rehearsal.

8) The orchestra will subsidize either 50% or $100 (whichever is less) of the cost of rental music upon documentation of rental costs. Please consult with the Artistic Director(s) prior to programming/renting music.

9) Conductors are expected to arrive early to each rehearsal (thirty (30) minutes) to help set up and distribute music.

10) Conductors are expected to represent TCS in a manner consistent with the orchestra’s brand and mission.

11) Once scheduled, all conducting opportunities are a firm commitment. Cancellation will generally result in a loss of conducting opportunities and a full review by the TCS board with a potential to terminate the appointment.


1) Prospective conductors are encouraged to play with TCS in order to develop a relationship with the orchestra. TCS tries to promote from within as often as possible.

2) TCS reserves the right to review the reappointment of conductors at the end of each season.

3) TCS records concerts and may take rehearsal or concert photography, audio, and/or video for archival, promotional, and fundraising purposes. By performing in the orchestra you consent to TCS’s use of these recordings and images for such purposes.

4) Conductors, composers, and soloists will receive a complimentary recording of the piece(s) in which they were featured. Contact Christine Todd at to obtain a recording.

5) TCS carries general liability insurance, but musicians are responsible for personal insurance for their instrument and personal belongings.

6) Musicians performing with TCS or associated with TCS in any capacity are expected to follow all applicable laws and guidelines from the venue, governing organization, or verbal instructions by TCS board members. Any behavior that conflicts with such laws or guidelines or puts TCS or other TCS members/musicians in jeopardy is the sole responsibility of the individual.

7) Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a dedicated adult supervisor (non-participant in rehearsal/concert) at all times.


When available, PDFs of parts are emailed prior to the first rehearsal. Hard copies will be distributed at the first rehearsal. All music must be left on the stand at the completion of the final concert for each series. If a musician chooses to remove music from the performance venue, they are responsible for returning it or replacing if lost.


In general, rehearsals are held at the concert venue (e.g., St. Paul’s Church, 315 West 22nd Street; the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street) from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Monday (or Tuesday), Wednesday, and Thursday of the concert week. Midway through rehearsal, musicians receive a 20-minute break. Because we are a self-sufficient orchestra, we are responsible for logistics such as setup, teardown, and folding programs. TCS appreciates and encourages member help in these areas. If a musician cannot attend a rehearsal, the contractor must be notified at the time the musician commits to participating in the series, and make every effort to find a substitute.


Although there are exceptions, most of our concerts are held at St. Paul’s Church, 315 West 22nd Street, or the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street, at 8:00 PM on Friday and 8:00 PM on Saturday or 8:00 PM on Saturday and 2:00 PM on Sunday. Dress rehearsals take place on Fridays from 5:30 to 7:15 PM and Saturdays from 5:30 to 6:30 PM or Saturday 5:30 to 7:15 PM and Sunday 12:00 to 1:00pm. Concert dress is all black. Instrument cases and belongings should be kept in the dining room/green room of the church. Tickets are available for each performance for $25 for unassigned seating in a reserved area or available at the door for a suggested donation of $20. TCS members and musicians are encouraged to publicize TCS performances in order to ensure a full house.


Proposals for extra performance opportunities may be brought to the board at any time. The board will vote on whether to pursue the idea, factoring in artistic merit, financial considerations, exposure/publicity, educational benefits, and accordance with TCS’s mission statement. Please feel free to submit a proposal to any board member and we will gladly consider it.


In the event that TCS is contracted for a paid service, contracting preference will be given to musicians who have performed regularly with the orchestra in the past year. For services that require travel outside of New York City, preference may be given to individuals with access to a car.


It is The Chelsea Symphony's policy to ensure an environment free of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, gender, ancestry, national origin, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical condition, marital status, gender identity or expression, veteran or military status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. The Chelsea Symphony will not tolerate any such discrimination or harassment. Under this policy, harassment is unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or his or her relatives on the basis of these legally protected classifications.


The Chelsea Symphony is committed to maintaining an environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. All members and guests are required to operate in a manner that prevents sexual harassment. TCS is committed to providing a safe environment for its musicians, board, and staff members to ensure all are free from discrimination and harassment including sexual harassment.

This policy applies to all musicians, board members, guest artists, staff, interns, consultants, contractors, and persons conducting business, whether paid or unpaid, with TCS.

TCS operates with a zero tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment or misconduct, treats all incidents seriously, and promptly investigates all allegations to the extent the organization is able. Any person found to have sexually harassed or otherwise acted in a way that is not in keeping with regulatory laws or this policy against another will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from participation and/or employment with TCS or related freelance opportunities and may require TCS to report that person to a higher authority.

All complaints of sexual harassment or misconduct will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be penalized for making such a complaint. TCS maintains a retaliation prohibition. No person covered by this policy shall be subject to adverse action as a result of reporting an incident of sexual harassment, providing information, or otherwise assisting in any investigation of a sexual harassment complaint.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated, and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s participation or employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating, or humiliating for the recipient.

Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents; actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal, and/or non-verbal. Gender identification is irrelevant; the defining characteristic is unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature against another person.

If a person has experienced sexual harassment or misconduct, consider informing the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcome. If this is not possible, they can and should approach any member of the TCS board who will listen and act appropriately. Likewise, TCS empowers its musicians to adopt an “if you see something, say something” approach and discreetly report issues to the board for review and action if necessary.


The orchestra thrives with your support and extra help is always appreciated. If you or a friend would like to volunteer before or during concert weeks or donate, please feel free to speak to any board member or email us at

The Chelsea Symphony is an IRS-recognized 501c3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.


Revised March 2020