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Graduate Audition/Portfolio Requirements

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Please click on your specific area of study below for audition/portfolio requirements.

Bagpipes

Bassoon

Cello

Clarinet

Collaborative Piano

Composition

Double Bass

Euphonium

Flute

Guitar

Harp

Horn

Music Education  

 Music & Technology  

Oboe

Percussion

Piano

Saxophone

Trombone

Trumpet

Tuba

Viola

Violin

Voice


Bagpipes: 

All applicants to the bagpipe studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various genres. Applicants should submit a minimum of six piobaireachd compositions and a minimum of six march, strathspeys and reel compositions. Applicants should be prepared to perform pieces selected on the day of the audition. Please choose selections that show tone, musicianship and technique.

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Bassoon: 

All applicants to the bassoon studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements

  • Scales: any major or minor scale may be requested
  • Etude(s) showing both technique and musicality
  • Two movements in contrasting styles (slow and fast) from a standard Sonata and/or Concerto
  • Orchestral excerpts may be played as part of the audition, but are not required

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Cello: 

All applicants to the cello studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. Although there are no set requirements for this audition, you are urged to choose a solo piece, a movement from a concerto, two orchestral excerpts, a movement from a Bach Suite, and an etude that shows tone, musicianship and technique. Know that you may also be asked for major and minor scales.

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Clarinet: 

All applicants to the clarinet studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. Although there are no set requirements for this audition, please choose a solo piece, a movement from a concerto, three orchestral excerpts, and etudes that show tone, musicianship, and technique. Know that you may also be asked for major and minor scales.

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Collaborative Piano: 

The collaborative piano audition is organized in three parts

  • A collaborative instrumental performance audition
  • A collaborative vocal performance audition
  • A sight-reading examination

The School of Music will provide instrumental and vocal performers for the collaborative piano audition on campus only. All candidates must choose audition repertoire from list below.

Instrumental Repertoire:

Cesar Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major
Allegretto ben moderato
Allegro

Ludwig van Beethoven:
Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 7 in C Minor, Op. 30, No. 2 (Allegro con Brio) or
Sonata for Piano and Cello No. 3 in A Major, Op. 69 (Allegro ma non tanto)

Vocal Repertoire:

Johannes Brahms: Meine Liebe is Grun (b minor)
Gabriel Faure: Toujours (e minor) from Poeme d’un Jour

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Composition: 

All Composition applicants are required to submit a portfolio for pre-screening review. Applicants will be notified in early January if they are invited to interview. Interview confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the scheduled date.

Pre-screening portfolio requirements:

  • Three manuscripts of original compositions showing the artists range in genre, training and ability.
  • An audio recording of a live performance of each of the submitted compositions. If a live performance is not possible, an electronically generated audio recording will be acceptable.
  • Although arrangements of works by other composers are welcome, they will be considered supplementary to the basic requirement for three original works.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.

Interview portfolio reviews:

At the in-person portfolio review, applicants will meet with the composition faculty panel to discuss personal compositional processes, background and future goals. To a great extent, the composition portfolio review resembles an interview. It will not be necessary for applicants to perform excerpts of their works, either vocally or instrumentally. Applicants should, however, bring a copy of their portfolio with them to the interview. Composition candidates are not required to complete a separate instrumental or vocal audition. Candidates may be required to participate in various placement tests or proficiencies on the day of the portfolio review.

Please note that interviews are only held on campus and not at regional sites.

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Double Bass: 

All applicants to the double bass studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements

  • Contrasting movements from any Baroque sonata or suite
  • The first movement of a Classical, Romantic, or 20th century Concerto performed from memory
  • Two octave major and minor scales and arpeggios from memory
  • Two orchestral excerpts of your choice

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Euphonium: 

All applicants to the euphonium studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. Although there are no set requirements for this audition, please choose a solo piece, a movement from a concerto, three band or orchestral excerpts, and etudes that show tone, musicianship and technique. Know that you may also be asked for major and minor scales.

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Flute:

Flute applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video recording. Invited auditioners will be notified in early January and audition confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the live audition date.

Pre-screening requirements:

  • This video recording must be entirely without piano accompaniment.
  • Required Repertoire:
    • Mozart: Concerto in G or D major- 1st and 2nd movements (exposition only)
  • Orchestral Excerpts:
    • Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3 (measures 328-360)
    • Brahms: Symphony No. 4 (Movement IV – measures 93-105)
    • Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo – 2 measures before P to the end)
    • Debussy: Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune (rehearsal no. 2-3)

All of the above excerpts can be found in Orchestral Excerpts for Flute (Baxtresser/Rearick), published by Theodore Presser.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.

Live audition requirements:
Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase will be expected to prepare the following audition requirements

  • Bach: Sonata
  • Mozart: Concerto (complete, memorization optional)
  • Major standard work of the Twentieth Century (complete sonata, concerto, or substantial work such as Dutilleux-Sonatine, Jolivet-Chant de Linos, Martin-Ballade, or Sancan-Sonatine)
  • Six Orchestral Excerpts of contrasting styles (from the Jeanne Baxtresser Book of Orchestral Excerpts)

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Guitar: 

Those auditioning for the guitar studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. The audition should include one prelude or etude by Hector Villa-Lobos and one Bach prelude from BWV 995, 996, 997, or 1006.

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Harp: 

All applicants to the harp studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. Although there are no set requirements for this audition, please choose a solo piece, a movement from a concerto, three orchestral excerpts, and etudes that show tone, musicianship and technique. Know that you may also be asked for major and minor scales.

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Horn: 

All applicants to the gradate horn studio are expected to prepare the follow audition requirements:

  • Solo: Bozza En Foret OR Strauss Concerto No. 2 - 1st movement
  • Perform 5 orchestral excerpts, 2 of your choice and 3 from the following:
    • Beethoven Symphony No. 7: 1st horn part, 1st movement, exposition call
    • Beethoven Symphony No. 9: 4th horn part, 3rd movement
    • Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night's Dream: 1st horn part, Nocturne
    • Shostakovich Symphony No. 5: 1st horn part, 1st movement, tutti section before high solo and high solo
    • Strauss Ein Heldenleben: 1st horn part, intro call
  • All major and minor scales
  • Sight-reading

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Music Education: 

Master of Music in Music Education candidates must hold a K-12 teaching certificate in order to qualify for consideration. US citizens who are not yet certified will need to complete the Music Education Certification as part of the MM program. This will extend the degree by 1-2 semesters. International applicants do not need a teaching certificate to qualify.

In addition to the School of Music online application, applicants must meet the following requirements for pre-screening review by the Music Education faculty:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from most recent music degree
  • Applicants should choose 3 recommenders who can support their academic ability and promise as a music educator as part of the online School of Music application
  • Sample lesson plans, teaching materials, or other supporting documents (please limit the scope and amount of these materials). These materials can be uploaded to the School of Music online application. This is optional for Live Interview applicants, but required for Final Recorded Audition/Portfolio applicants.

Applicants who are invited to interview and audition for the Master of Music in Music Education program will be notified in early January and audition/interview confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the live audition date.

Live auditions/interviews:
Candidates who are invited for an interview and audition should prepare one selection on their primary instrument demonstrating their musical ability. Candidates will perform their audition selection and complete a sight singing/listening skills test as part of the interview process. Those applicants who are found to be acceptable candidates during the panel interview, but who are felt to have deficiencies in the area of performance will be required to take additional studio training courses as part of the Music Education curriculum.

Please note that interviews are only held on campus and not at regional sites.

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Music & Technology: 

All applicants are required to submit a portfolio containing samples of original musical and technological work to the School of Music. This portfolio must be received by December 1. Applicants will be notified in early January if they are invited to interview. Email confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the scheduled date.

Portfolio contents may include:

  • Audio recordings of performances or compositions that you engineered.
  • Video recordings of performances or compositions that you produced or edited.
  • Demonstrations of software or hardware that you have created.
  • Software listings for programs that you have written.
  • Screenshots of your software or other creative work.
  • Web pages you have created.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.

The members of the Music & Technology faculty panel require that your portfolio be received in advance so that each has adequate time to review and to become familiar with your creative work. This review helps the faculty prepare for your portfolio review.

Interview portfolio review:
Candidates who are unable to travel to campus in order to interview in person with the Music & Technology faculty panel will have the option to “audition by recording” when registering for an appointment. At the Portfolio Review, applicants will meet with the Music & Technology faculty panel to discuss creative processes, background information, and future goals. To a great extent, the portfolio review resembles an interview.

GRE scores should be submitted to the Office of Recruitment and Enrollment by the January 10 deadline.

Note: Interviews are only held on campus and not at regional sites.

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Oboe:

All applicants to the oboe studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • All major and minor (harmonic or melodic) scales
  • 2 contrasting etues of your choice
  • 1 or more solo pieces of your choice
  • 1 or more movements of a concerto of your choice
  • 3 contrasting orchestral excerpts

 

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Percussion:

Solos


  • Two or four mallet solo marimba work or etude of applicant’s choice – (Bach, Contemporary work)

  • Concert snare drum solo or etude of applicant’s choice – (Delecluse, Peters, Aleo, etc.)

  • Timpani Solo or etude of applicant’s choice – (Carter, Delecluse, Firth, etc.)

Orchestral Excerpts


  • Snare Drum
: Four contrasting excerpts of applicant’s choice 
  • Xylophone
: Four contrasting excerpts of applicant’s choice 
  • Glockenspiel: Four contrasting excerpts of applicant’s choice 
  • Cymbals
: Two contrasting excerpts of applicant’s choice 
  • Tambourine
: Two contrasting excerpts of applicant’s choice 
  • Triangle
: If desired, but not required 
  • Vibraphone: If desired, but not required 
  • Drumset
: If desired, but not required

Notes for all percussion applicants:

  • All applicants must supply their own sticks and mallets
.
    • The following will be provided on campus: timpani, mallet instruments, adjustable thrones, snare drums, snare drum stands, cymbals – applicants may bring their own snare drums, stands, cymbals, and thrones if they wish
.
  • If available audition dates are not compatible with an applicant’s schedule, they may contact Mr. Branson to schedule another date.

  • A live audition is preferred, but in special circumstances (i.e. travel, time) a video-recorded audition will be accepted. Details must be worked out in advance with Mr. Branson PRIOR TO uploading the recording to the Audition Dropbox.

    Please note that auditions are only held on campus and not at regional sites.

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Piano: 

Piano applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video recording. Invited auditioners will be notified in early January and audition confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the live audition date.

Pre-screening requirements:
The length of the recording must be at least 20 minutes

Required Repertoire

  • A Baroque or Classical work (From 17th century to Beethoven)
  • A Romantic, 20th Century, or Contemporary work demonstrating the applicant’s pianistic and artistic ability

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.

Live audition requirements: 
Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase will be expected to prepare the following audition requirements:

  • A polyphonic work (late-Renaissance to contemporary)
  • A complete Classical sonata (J.C. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, Beethoven, or Schubert)
  • A major Romantic work (e.g., a sonata by Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Scriabin, or Rachmaninoff, a Chopin Ballade or Scherzo, a cycle by Schumann, or any large-scale composition by Liszt) or a selection of characteristic pieces of contrasting moods (e.g., an opus of Chopin Mazurkas, selections from Liszt’s “Années de Pèlerinage” or Brahms’ Op. 116-119)
  • A 20th-century or contemporary work (from Debussy onward)
  • A virtuoso composition, such as an etude by Clementi (“Gradus ad Parnassum”), Czerny (Op. 740), Chopin, Paganini/Schumann, Liszt, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Bartók, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, or Ligeti, or a toccata or toccata-like movement by Czerny, Schumann, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, or Prokofiev

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Saxophone:

All applicants to the graduate saxophone studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. Although there are no set requirements for this audition, please choose a solo piece, a movement from a concerto, three orchestral excerpts, and etudes that show tone, musicianship and technique. Know that you may also be asked for major and minor scales.

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Trombone:

All applicants to the graduate trombone studio are expected to perform an audition recital of 15-20 minutes, including a minimum of five works showing representative repertoire of various periods. Although there are no set requirements for this audition, please choose a solo piece, a movement from a concerto, three orchestral excerpts, and etudes that show tone, musicianship, and technique. Know that you may also be asked for major and minor scales.

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Trumpet:

All applicants to the trumpet studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements

Two contrasting etudes (one lyric, one technical) from etude books such as:

  • Charlier Etudes Transcendantes
  • Bitsch, Vingt Etudes
  • Pietzsch, 22 Virtuosity Studies
  • W.M. Smith, Top Tones

Two Solos:

  • Haydn Concerto in E flat (with cadenza)
  • A French solo work such as: 
    1. Honegger, Intrada 
    2. Tomasi, Concerto for Trumpet 
    3. Enesco, Legend

Four or Five orchestral excerpts such as:

  • Beethoven, Leonore 2 or 3
  • Mussorgsky/Ravel, Pictures at an Exhibition (Promenade)
  • Respighi, Pines of Rome (offstage solo)
  • Stravinsky, Petrouchka (Ballerina’s dance and waltz)
  • Ravel Piano Concerto in D
  • R. Strauss, Don Juan (lyric solo)

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Tuba:

Applicants to the graduate tuba studio should prepare a major concerto (such as Vaughan Williams, John Williams, or another of similar difficulty), and at least two additional selections, one of which should be a solo or etude in a style which contrasts the concerto, and one of which should be performed on CC tuba. In addition, the applicant should prepare at least five standard orchestral excerpts, three or more of which should be performed on CC tuba.

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Viola: 

All applicants to the viola studio are expected to prepare the following audition requirements

  • A complete Bach cello suite, violin partita, or sonata
  • A complete concerto
  • A complete sonata
  • A piece of the applicant's choosing

A high quality video recording is the only acceptable medium for an audition by recording

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Violin: 

Violin applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video recording. Invited auditioners will be notified in early January and audition confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the live audition date.

Pre-screening requirements:

  • Two contrasting movements of any solo sonata or partita by Bach (played from memory)
  • A Paganini Caprice or a movement from an Ysaye solo sonata
  • A first movement of a major concerto written after 1830

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.

All invited applicants to the violin studio are expected to prepare the following live audition requirements

  • A complete Classical, Romantic, or 20th Century concerto (played from memory)
  • Two contrasting movements of any solo sonata or partita by Bach (played from memory)
  • A Paganini Caprice, a movement from an Ysaye solo sonata, or any virtuoso work by Sarasate, Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, or Ravel

If not able to participate in the live auditions, a high quality video-recorded audition should be submitted. Selections should be annotated and separated by track numbers. This will act as both your pre-screening and your final audition.

  • One movement of a concerto
  • One movement of a solo Bach piece
  • A Paganini Caprice, one movement from a Ysaye solo sonata, or any virtuoso work by Saint-Saens, Wieniawski, Sarasate, or Ravel

A high quality video recording is the only acceptable medium for an audition by recording

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Voice:

Master’s candidates must exhibit the equivalent preparation and presentation to that required for completion of the BFA at Carnegie Mellon University, and be able to demonstrate career potential in the classical music field. 

Voice applicants are required to submit a pre-screening video recording. Invited auditioners will be notified in early January and audition confirmations will be sent no less than two weeks before the live audition date.

Pre-screening requirements:

Four selections:

  1. One song or aria in English
  2. One song or aria in Italian
  3. One oratorio aria in a language of your choice
  4. One song or aria in a language of your choice
  • Songs may be from the art song repertoire or a combination of art songs and arias from opera and oratorio.
  • No more than TWO selections may be arias.
  • Music should be selected from a variety of stylistic periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century, for example). 
  • Musical Theater, Jazz, "CCM" (Contemporary Commercial Music), and original compositions will not be accepted.

Please see Pre-screening Instructions for details on how to submit your pre-screening. Media must be uploaded to the School of Music online application by December 1.

Live audition requirements:

Candidates who proceed to the live audition phase are expected to prepare the following audition repertoire

Five selections:

  1. One song or aria in English
  2. One song or aria in Italian
  3. One song or aria in German
  4. One song or aria in French
  5. One song or aria in a language of your choice
  • All selections must be performed in their original language, from memory. 
  • Each of the five selections should represent a variety of musical styles and periods, and at least one selection MUST be from the standard 20th/21st century literature (You may refer to this PDF for a suggested list of American and British composers who have contributed to 'standard' 20th/21st century literature). 
  • At least one selection MUST be from an oratorio (any language), and when applicable, should include a recitative. 
  • Audition materials may contain no more than THREE arias.

In addition, prospective graduate students are to provide the panel with a copy of their most recently performed degree recital. The faculty panel will also review the resume and repertoire lists submitted as part of the online application.

A collaborative pianist is provided only for on-campus voice auditions. Please email a PDF copy of your audition music, if it is outside the standard repertoire, to music-admissions@andrew.cmu.edu clearly indicating your name and birth date at least one week prior to your audition.  

At the live audition, all applicants are expected to present their Carnegie Mellon School of Music appointed collaborative pianist with clean, double-sided copies of their repertoire in a 3-ring binder.  Please do not present music in plastic sheet protectors.

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