Zander Fellow

Zander Fellowship at the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra


The Zander Fellowship is an endowed scholarship that was established in 1999 by the Boston Philharmonic's Board of Directors on the occasion of Benjamin Zander's 60th birthday in recognition of a lifetime of contribution to the world of music.

The fellowship offers a young musician an apprenticeship with Mr. Zander for one concert season and a stipend of $30,000. It provides an opportunity to learn from Mr. Zander at close quarters by attending rehearsals, meetings and presentations. The Zander Fellow will learn first-hand the distinctive musical philosophy and business practices that make the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and Benjamin Zander’s leadership as a conductor so unique. The Fellowship is meant to be a transforming experience for a young musician and to launch a career that will make a difference to our cultural life.

The Fellowship consists of two related parts:

1. A learning opportunity with Benjamin Zander and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (stipend $15,000).

2. Assistant to Mr. Zander for his musical and teaching activities (stipend $15,000). Visit for more information about Benjamin Zander.

The 2015-16 Zander Fellowship will run from September 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

There is no age limit set on the Zander Fellowship. However, the award is for an “aspiring conductor” and the award will only be made to someone who fulfills this description.

Answer the following questions.  Pages should be single-spaced and the file saved as a PDF attached to your application.

  1. What is it about Benjamin Zander's approach to music, leadership, conducting, lectures, writing, recordings, and bonus explanation discs that leads you to apply for this Fellowship?
  1. What aspect(s) of your journey into the music profession do you feel the Zander Fellowship would support? 

All applicants must also include

1) a resume or curriculum vitae

2) a link, or several links, to a private YouTube video of themselves conducting at least two contrasting works. One of the videos MUST include a rehearsal of 10 minutes or longer. This need not be a professionally produced recording

3) At least two letters of recommendation.

In addition, applicants are welcome to include audio and print materials in support of their application.

The deadline to submit an application for the Zander Fellowship is March 15, 2015.

Applications may be submitted by email to Please include your name and Zander Fellow Application in the subject line.

Physical applications may be mailed to:

Zander Fellowship

Boston Philharmonic Orchestra

295 Huntington Avenue, Suite 210

Boston, MA 02115

The Boston Philharmonic is committed to administering all educational policies and activities on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation, in accordance with federal and state laws.

Please direct all inquiries to 617.236.0999, or by fax at 617.236.8613.  Further information about the orchestra can be found at

The Boston Philharmonic thanks the following individuals for their generous support towards the endowment of Zander Fellowship: Kathy Adam and The Charles E. Harwood Trust; Lola & Charles Baldwin, III; Clark Charitable Trust; Deborah & Larry Chud; Carl & Armenne Derderian; Kathleen Emrich & Robert Sherwood; Frank & Mitzi Ferguson; The D+L Foundation; Constance & Michael Fulenwider; The Goldberg Foundation; Graham & Ann Gund; Francis & Elizabeth Hunnewell; William & Sinesia Karol; Robbie & Joe Deitch; Dr. & Mrs. Louis Meeks; John L. & Janet E. Pattillo; Seymour & Sylvia Rothchild; Lois & Norman Silverman; David Strand; Stephen Symchych; Richard J. Trant; Elizabeth G. Vestner; Murray Wheeler, Jr.; Sharon P. & Richard C. Whiteley; Elsie & Patrick R. Wilmerding; Marilyn H. Zuckerman.


Current Zander Fellow James Blachly is a conductor rapidly gaining a reputation for insightful and interactive programming. The artistic director of the New York-based Sheep Island Ensemble, he is also the co-founder of Make Music NOLA, an El Sistema-inspired program in New Orleans. This season saw debut performances with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic New Directions, and two concerts in Venezuela, where he was invited as guest conductor. This summer, he will be making his debut with Geneseo Light Opera, music directing Cosí fan tutte at the Smith Opera House, and conducting The Dream Unfinished, a concert of works by William Grant Still and Leonard Bernstein in New York City.

His recent production and conducting of the Rite of Spring Dance Party in Boston, presented by the Boston Philharmonic New Directions series in partnership with Groupmuse, has called international attention to his innovative programming. With the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, he has initiated the Young Composers Initiative, reading and recording the compositions of young composers from Harvard, NEC, Boston University, the Berklee School of Music, the Walden School, and the Boston Conservatory.

Mr. Blachly is a passionate advocate for music education and youth orchestras. Last summer, he conducted a large-scale benefit concert for six El Sistema-inspired programs in New York City hosted by Jamie Bernstein, joining with concertmaster Krista Bennion Feeney of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s to perform Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.

In 2014, he made his Boston debut with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra conducting Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole and was assistant conductor to Gil Rose and chorus master for the critically acclaimed Odyssey Opera production of Verdi’s Un giorno di Regno, as well as conducting sessions for Parma Records and guest conducting the acclaimed Discovery Ensemble in school concerts.

Mr. Blachly studied conducting with Donald Schleicher at the University of Illinois where he won the Presser Award for Career Advancement, and has worked privately with Larry Rachleff, James Ross, and Michael Gilbert.