Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) comprises the Performing Arts School, New Jersey Youth Symphony, and Paterson Music Project as New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving 1,500 students. Our Mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities.
The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), founded in 1979, is a tiered orchestral program offering ensemble education for students in grades 3-12 across New Jersey. NJYS has grown from one orchestra of 65 students to over 500 students in 15 different orchestras and ensembles, including the internationally recognized Youth Symphony. NJYS ensembles have performed in venues including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NJYS has received numerous prestigious awards for its adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and has had six European tours, including participation in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition (Vienna), winning First Prizes in July 2014 and 2017.
The Paterson Music Project (PMP) empowers children to achieve their full potential through the joyful pursuit of musical excellence. Inspired by the global El Sistema movement, PMP uses music education as a vehicle for social change in its home city of Paterson. PMP works with students from School 1, School 26, School 24, Norman S. Weir Elementary School, and the Community Charter School of Paterson. Students perform frequently for the school and community and have performed at the Prudential Center, Shea Center for Performing Arts ,and NJPAC. There are over 200 students in grades 2-9 in the Paterson Music Project.
The Performing Arts School, located in Berkeley Heights, provides instrumental, vocal, drama, and musical theater instruction through private lessons and group classes. Beginning with Pathways classes for the very young, PAS offers music education and performance opportunities for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay.
All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best. Our rich past and bright future are made possible through the generosity and talents of our teachers, staff, students, volunteers, and donors.