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Heifetz PEG

Program for Exceptionally Gifted String Students 9-13 years old

The HeifetzPEG program for 2021 will take place in two sessions:

Session I will run from June 21 - July 11, 2021
Session II will run from July 12 - Aug. 1, 2021

Both on-campus and online study options will be available to successful applicants. The on-campus sessions will be managed in conformance to prevailing Mary Baldwin University, City of Staunton, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Federal health & safety rules and regulations regarding the pandemic, up to and potentially including a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all Heifetz Institute students, staff, and faculty.  Dates may  potentially be adjusted according to compulsory quarantine periods.

HeifetzPEG is a three-week intensive summer program for gifted young string musicians (violin, viola, and cello) between the ages of nine and thirteen, regarded as the foremost summer program for this age cohort in the world. The program was forged from the alliance between the Heifetz Institute and Mary Baldwin University, home to the Heifetz Institute since 2012. MBU’s pioneering Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) was established in 1985 to offer academically young women between the ages of 12 and 16 an opportunity to bypass high school to pursue an undergraduate degree, in a fully supervised, nurturing environment designed to support the unique intellectual and emotional needs of these brilliant young minds.


About the Course

The HeifetzPEG arena of study includes:

  • World–renowned faculty from such institutions as The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music with special expertise in teaching exceptional young musicians (see full Faculty list below)
  • Two 50-minute private lessons per week
  • Two chamber music coachings per week
  • One studio performance class per week
  • Dedicated and customized Heifetz Performance and Communication Training courses,  under the purview of Communication Director Daniel Pettrow.
  • Public performance opportunities each week
  • Final public concerts exclusively for HeifetzPEG students. Each student will perform in a minimum of one solo and one chamber-music piece to complete the program successfully.
  • Participation in master classes, seminars, and other functions presented by the renowned faculty of the Heifetz Institute six-week summer program
  • Full access to all concerts and all other public functions presented by the Heifetz International Music Institute

Additional Programs & Activities include:

  • Serious Fun! Organized activities on campus and in the safe, secure small town of Staunton, VA  by our trained, professional HeifetzPEG staff.


Heifetz PEG_Yoga with Melissa White

HeifetzPEG Performance & Communication Training

The Heifetz Institute was founded by Daniel Heifetz upon the revolutionary educational concept that young musicians can be taught to communicate the emotion of music, beyond mere technical agility and beautiful playing. Thus, in addition to the intensity (and fun!) of the overall program, each HeifetzPEG student will participate in a series of 50-minute-per-day classes in custom-tailored modules taught by veteran actors, dancers, opera singers, concert and crossover artists, as well as entertainment, exercise and healthcare professionals.

Practice Partner Program

Our Practice Partner Program brings about an opportunity for our full-program students, Artists in Residence, and staff members to serve as mentors to HeifetzPEG students. As practice partners they are responsible for helping their assigned PEG student understand their teacher’s directions and practice assignments, listen to what the teacher is asking them to work on, and what techniques the teacher is recommending. Practice partners attend the last 5-10 minutes of their PEG student’s lessons, then meet with them immediately after and help them make a practice plan. They also check-in with their PEG students throughout the week in 15 minute increments during their scheduled practice time, in order to make sure they are practicing thoughtfully and effectively. Practice partners are encouraged to accompany their PEG students to their public performances, evaluations, and sometimes they even go out for ice cream together!

dominique labelle performing
Heifetz Baroque student sings in the Blackfriars Playhouse

Housing and accommodations

HeifetzPEG students will reside in a separate, secure dormitory on the Mary Baldwin University campus, on floors divided by gender. Each floor will be staffed by dedicated HeifetzPEG Resident Advisors, providing supervision, programming, and emotional support. On duty during nights and weekends, these young adults will be trained in meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of these gifted young people, and will lead evening activities, weekend trips, and provide transportation to local events. HeifetzPEG students will have the opportunity to socialize with the six-week Heifetz Institute students.

Heifetz PEG Faculty

Margaret Lysy

Margaret Lysy

Director, Session I

Violin Studio I
UCLA – Herb Alpert School of Music / SOL-LA Music Academy
Francesca dePasquale

Francesca dePasquale

Director, Session II

Violin Studio I
Oberlin Conservatory; Juilliard Pre-College


Bela Horvath

Bela Horvath

Session I - Violin Studio II

Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division


Elizabeth Faidley

Elizabeth Faidley

Session II - Violin Studio II

Manhattan School of Music; The Elizabeth Faidley Studio


Andrew Mark

Andrew Mark

Session I - Cello Studio

Boston Conservatory / New England Conservatory Preparatory Division

Minna Rose Chung

Minna Rose Chung

Session II - Cello Studio

University of Manitoba
Desautels Faculty of Music


Caeli Smith

Caeli Smith

Session I - Viola / Chamber Music

Teaching Assistant at The Juilliard School; Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect


Matt Cohen

Matt Cohen

Session II - Viola / Chamber Music

Artistic Director -The Last Soiréee; Fishin’ in C Chamber Music Series


Lynne Mackey

Lynne Mackey

Piano Faculty

Mary Baldwin University

Audition Process & Guidelines

Please Read Carefully:  Heifetz Institute Video Application Requirements

  • Audition videos must clearly display the hands and face of the applicant at all times during the performance, and be taken from one single-camera perspective.
  • No video or audio edits of the performance are permitted, and edited performances will not be accepted.   Standard editing of applause and truncating and/or excerpting a single movement from a longer pieces is acceptable.
  • Each audition submission must be uploaded separately and clearly labeled with the name of the applicant performer and of the piece.
  • Looking for advice on making a great application video?  Check out the excellent (and funny!) suggestions offered by this violin website.
  • Videos may be posted on YouTube, or directly to the Heifetz Institute’s Acceptd platform.  Please make sure that all links are working and do not require password to access.
  • If you wish to upload a video from a live concert that was professionally recorded and does not meet the above conditions, or if you have any other questions, please contact us at [email protected]
  • If you’re unsure about whether your audition pieces fit these criteria…ask us!  Email us and we’ll be happy to answer your specific questions.
  • Please be sure your audition pieces are clearly titled.
  • You will also be asked to upload a letter(s) of recommendation from your teacher(s), and a short essay on “Why I would like to attend the Heifetz International Music Institute This Summer.” You are welcome to submit a typed document or a scan of a hand-written essay.
  • We will also want to know what repertoire you have been working on with your teacher.


Please upload three separate videos, clearly labeled, fulfilling the following requirements:

  • A short piece or movement demonstrating lyrical phrasing and beauty.
  • A movement from one of the six solo sonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach.
  • A short piece or movement demonstrating technical accomplishment.

    Please upload three separate videos, clearly labeled, fulfilling the following requirements:

    • A short piece or movement demonstrating lyrical phrasing and beauty.
    • A movement from one of the six solo cello suites by J.S. Bach. .
    • A short piece or movement demonstrating technical accomplishment.

    Please upload three separate videos, clearly labeled, fulfilling the following requirements:

    • A short piece or movement demonstrating lyrical phrasing and beauty.
    • A movement from one of the six solo cello suites by J.S. Bach. .
    • A short piece or movement demonstrating technical accomplishment.

      Tuition & Fees

      HeifetzPEG Program

      On Campus

      Total: $3,965

      Tuition, Room & Board: $3,500
      • Weekly private lessons and/or classroom instruction and coachings with studio teachers
      • Access to all other Institute instruction, Communication Training classes, master classes, group studio class, rehearsal time, etc.
      • Room & Board, including air-conditioned single- or double-occupancy dorm rooms, dedicated practice facilities, and dining facilities
      • Escort services for all PEG students to every lesson, coaching, and the dining hall, from our professionally-trained HeifetzPEG counselors and staff.
      Medical Services, Health & Safety, Testing, and Cleaning Fees: $300
      • Mandatory testing for COVID-19
      • Access to on-campus nurse office
      • Quarantine facilities, if necessary
      • 24/7 coverage and transportation to and from local health care facilities, including emergency room service
      Student Activities & Transportation: $100
      • Guaranteed transportation to and from IAD, CHO, or SHD airports and STA or CVS train stations
      • Weekly student activities (ranging from hiking trips around the Shenandoah Valley to residence hall pizza parties)
      • Transportation to and from student activity locations
      Photocopying/Music Library Fee/Licensing Fee: $40
      • Access to the Heifetz Institute music library and photocopying privileges, including payment of compulsory licenses to music publication agencies
      Student ID: $25
      • Mandatory for access to on-campus dining facilities
      • Free admission to local YMCA
      • Grants free admission to all Heifetz events

      HeifetzPEG Program


      Total: $3,135

      Tuition: $2,900
      • Weekly private lessons and/or classroom instruction and coachings with studio teachers
      • Access to all other Institute instruction, Communication Training classes, master classes, group studio class, rehearsal time, etc.
      • Training and “virtual studio time” for online solo and collaborative performances
      Technology Toolkit: $195
      • High Quality USB Microphone
      • High Quality over-ear headphones
      • Tripod Ring light
      • Software Licenses for audio and video production apps
      • Accessories, peripherals and 24/7 on-call expertise from the Heifetz Multimedia team.
      Photocopying/Music Library Fee/Licensing Fee: $40
      • Access to the Heifetz Institute music library and photocopying privileges, including payment of compulsory licenses to music publication agencies


      What’s the age limit for HeifetzPEG?

      Students born AFTER April 1, 2007 will be eligible for the HeifetzPEG.

      May I schedule a parent-child interview ?

      Once they are accepted, parents and students will be  asked to schedule a phone/video conference interview with a HeifetzPEG representative. This interview will allow your child to place a face with a key staff member’s name, who can provide critical details regarding this summer’s program. In addition, parents and children will discuss goals for their study at the Institute, ask questions they may have and share insight into their lives so our program may continue to be tailored to each child’s needs.

      Where will my child be living and what is the dorm configuration?

      As of this writing, due to  COVID-19 restrictions, HeifetzPEG students will be housed in single rooms in King Residence Hall, a dormitory building on the Mary Baldwin University campus where they will both live and attend some of their classes. Females will be housed on one floor with two female RAs and males will be housed on another with two male RAs. 

      Who are the resident advisors for the HeifetzPEG program?

      The HeifetzPEG RAs will serve as program leaders as students navigate both their classes, extracurricular activities and living arrangements. We will soon be accepting applications for these positions for the 2021 Summer Institute. The RAs will be available around the clock throughout the duration of the program. They will be assisted by our summer interns, as well as other administrative staff.

      I am nervous about sending my child to a college campus. What measures will be in place to ensure safety throughout their stay?

      We expect both students and their parents to be nervous about being away from home. In light of this, we have built many safety practices and supervision measures into our staff training and protocol to ensure that all students are accounted for at each moment of every day they are in our care. All HeifetzPEG students will be under the direct supervision of a HeifetzPEG staff member for the entire duration of the program. Students will travel in groups with an adult to all on-campus and off-campus buildings. Key access is limited for students in the King Dorm and those not living in the dorm are restricted from entering during the day or evening. A digital-based communication system will be used for HeifetzPEG staff members to check attendance and student whereabouts during all transitions. To ensure the safety and well-being of all who attend, complete background checks are performed by an independent firm on every staff and faculty member working at the Institute.

      How do I arrange for my child to be transported to and from the Institute?

      If your child will be traveling as an unaccompanied minor, please contact the HeifetzPEG Program Coordinator. Parents will discuss travel plans with the PEG Coordinator during the scheduled parent-child interview and you are advised to use their name when booking plane or train tickets, as they will be present to pick up your child from the airport or train station.

      What should my child pack for their time at the Institute?

      Students should refer to the “Preparation Checklist” in their HeifetzPEG Student Handbook with information regarding what students should and should not bring to the Institute.

      Is a mobile phone required?

      Parents will be given contact information for the HeifetzPEG Program Coordinator, as well  that of other administrative staff members,  as there will always be an “on-call” person for the Institute, both online and in-person. 

      For HeifetzPEG students, while a mobile phone may be helpful, it is not required. Students who have iPads, iPods, computers and other tablets may wish (at their own risk) to bring them to the Institute so they can stay in contact with their parents using the guest WiFi access provided on campus.

      Will there be an opportunity for my child to get in contact with me throughout the program?

      Yes. We realize the importance of each student staying in touch with their parents/guardians while away from their home environment. Our RAs and support staff will check in with students during the week to ensure they have had an opportunity to contact their parents through your preferred communication method. The Institute will accommodate those without cell phones to ensure they have access to a phone when needed.

      What if my child experiences difficulties while at the Institute?

      The HeifetzPEG staff takes a team and problem solving based approach to any disruptions a student may experience while at the Institute. If a student experiences difficulties in adjusting to the program or student life, staff members will gather to discuss potential causes and work with the student to generate a solution. Parents may also be contacted.

      Where will my child practice and how much time is allocated for practicing?

      Students will generally practice in their single dorm rooms.  In reviewing our sample schedule, you will notice a block of time allocated for “monitored practice” where staff will ensure that student have properly structured their practice time and space to promote maximum learning. Other times within the schedule will be available for practicing outside of these monitored blocks.

      What evening and weekend activities will be available for students?

      The Institute schedules supervised Saturday excursions and evening activities for students to leave campus and explore various sites in Staunton and surrounding areas. Students may always opt out of these activities and remain on campus with a staff member for alternative activities. Activities will be decided based on student interest and scheduling. Most evenings will be filled with concerts to which students are encouraged to attend. A designated staff member will accompany students to and from evening concerts. 

      What concerts will be available for my child to attend?

      Over fifty concerts are held during the six-weeks of the Heifetz Institute. Check back soon for our 2021 Festival of Concerts schedule. Students are encouraged to attend as many of these concerts as they can. If parents wish to attend these concerts, they may purchase tickets.

      What performance opportunities are available for my child?

      The HeifetzPEG Student Showcases will take place on the last two days of each session in the First Presbyterian Church, directly across the street from the Mary Baldwin University campus. The freshly-reburbished sanctuary has a large seating capacity able to accommodate socially-distant audiences.  Parents and students will be invited to a reception immediately following the concert. Select HeifetzPEG students will also have the opportunity to perform during our “Stars of Tomorrow” series.

      I’m staying in the Staunton area, may I attend/observe my child’s lessons and classes?

       HeifetzPEG is a transformational experience where students learn to push the boundaries of their skills in technique and expressive performance. Lessons, masterclasses and performance classes are opportunities for students to reach new heights in expressing themselves with other peers. It is our hope that students will learn to relate differently to the world of performance, even at a young age. In molding these new performance skills, we work with students to be independent in their private studies and peer interactions. For this reason, we ask parents to not attend private lessons or classes, so students learn more fully how to be independent musicians.