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 over 1,400 students. Our Mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.
New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), located in New Providence features fifteen ensembles and programs, available by audition for students in grades 3- 12. One of its two full, advanced orchestras, Youth Symphony, was awarded first place in 2014 and 2017 in the prestigious Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival and has appeared in such internationally renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall in New York City, John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Musikverein in Vienna. The New Jersey Youth Symphony was featured on NJTV’s The State of the Arts.
The Institute’s primary community engagement program is Paterson Music Project (PMP). PMP is an El Sistema-inspired program that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP serves 250 students in grades 1-8 from five Paterson Schools including the Community Charter School of Paterson, Public Schools 1, 26, 15, and Norman S. Weir Elementary School. Students perform frequently for the school and community and have performed with NJYS at NJPAC. PMP was featured in a 2015 Telly Award-winning documentary.
The Performing Arts School (formerly Wharton Music Center), located in Berkeley Heights, provides instrumental, vocal, drama, and musical theater instruction through private 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.