Curtis Institute Of Music Essay

All applicants in bassoon, clarinet, composition, conducting, double bass, flute, horn, piano, trombone, trumpet, violin, voice, and opera are required to submit screening materials online in order to be considered for an invitation to audition in person. There is a $100 screening fee (in addition to the $150 application fee), payable to Curtis to complete the application. If the applicant is invited for live audition, this screening fee will apply as credit towards the $150 audition fee (due by the department's audition date).


Applicants must submit a video recording containing the following:

    • The first movement of one of the following concertos: Mozart, Weber or Hummel
    • One etude of the applicant's choice
    • One standard orchestral excerpt of the applicant's choice


    • The exposition of the first movement of the Mozart concerto (with piano accompaniment)
    • The following orchestral excerpts:
      • Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream (beginning to letter A, 6th bar of letter D to 19 bars after letter E)
      • Rimsky-Korsakov, Capriccio Espagnol, movement 1 (letter A to letter B, letter C for 21 bars)
      • Brahms, Symphony #3, movement 1 (bars 26-46), movement 2 (beginning for 22 bars)


Applicants may submit scores and accompanying recordings for up to three compositions. Submissions of orchestral and large-ensemble compositions are encouraged but are not required.


Applicants must submit a high-quality audio-visual recording by December 12, 2017 as follows:

    • Include three to four excerpts showing various musical styles from standard orchestral, operatic, and contemporary works. The excerpts can be derived from performances or rehearsals, and the entire recording should not exceed 20 minutes in length.
    • The recording must be representative of the applicant’s current work.
    • The applicant must be clearly visible.

Double Bass

Applicants should prepare a five- to ten-minute video recording of a work (or works) that best exhibits their skills. The choice should be similar to, but not limited to, the full Double Bass audition repertoire.


Applicants should prepare a video recording of (at least) one movement from each of three contrasting pieces. Works with piano (or other instrumental) accompaniment should be performed with piano accompaniment.


Applicants should prepare video recordings of the following. Each work should be one uninterrupted recording.

    • The exposition from R. Strauss's Concerto No. 1
    • The second movement opening solo from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5
    • The opening to rehearsal #1 from R. Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel


Applicants should prepare video recordings (keyboard in view) of the following. Movements may be individual recordings, but each movement should be one uninterrupted recording.

    • A complete work of J. S. Bach
    • One of the sonatas listed below (complete and by memory):
      • Any Mozart sonata (except K. 545)
      • Any Beethoven sonata (except Op. 49)
      • Any of these five Haydn sonatas:
        1. A-flat major, Hob. XVI:46, L. 31
        2. C minor, Hob. XVI:20, L. 33
        3. E-flat major, Hob. XVI:49, L. 59
        4. C-major, Hob. XVI:50, L. 60
        5. E-flat major, Hob. XVI:52, L. 62
    • One slow and one fast selection from the works of Chopin for solo piano (no works of Chopin for piano and orchestra will be acceptable)


Applicants should prepare video recordings (unaccompanied) of the following. Each work should be one uninterrupted recording.

    • One movement from a concerto, sonata, or other substantial solo work
    • One technical étude by Kopprasch, Tyrell, or Blazhevich
    • One lyrical étude by Bordogni, Rochut, or the equivalent
    • A least three orchestral excerpts of contrasting style


Applicants should prepare a video recording between 10 and 15 minutes in length containing the following:

    • One solo work (not for piccolo trumpet), either a movement of a standard concerto or sonata (not to exceed 8 minutes) or a single movement solo work (not to exceed 8 minutes). Longer works, or individual movements recorded with cuts are acceptable.
    • Three contrasting standard orchestral excerpts


Applicants should submit a video (recorded in 2017) of the following. Movements may be individual recordings, but each movement should be one uninterrupted recording; please include at least one slow tempo movement:

    • One movement from a Mozart concerto
    • One movement from another standard-repertoire concerto
    • Two movements from a Bach solo sonata or partita
    • A Paganini caprice


Applicants should prepare an audio or video recording of three repertoire selections that show contrast in musical styles and tempos: songs or opera arias for undergraduate program applicants and only opera arias for the graduate program. The recording for screening should include accompaniment. Please make certain the recording is of good quality, as the granting of a live audition will depend upon this. Applicants will be notified of decisions regarding live auditions by mid-January.

The Curtis Institute of Music highly values a diverse international student body. Since 1924, Curtis has welcomed all applicants regardless of race, geographic origin, religious background, socio-economic level, gender, or sexual orientation.

Admissions are based on artistic promise alone. Enrollment is limited to the number of musicians needed for a symphony orchestra, opera department, and select programs in piano, composition, conducting, organ, and guitar, as well as community artist fellows and a string quartet in residence. Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students.

Degrees and Diplomas

Curtis offers the following degrees and diplomas:

Curtis sets no minimum age for the admission of exceptional students to most of its programs. Students younger than college age are considered candidates for the Curtis Diploma. These students pursue their musical studies at Curtis and their college-preparatory academic studies at an accredited public or private middle or high school of their own choosing.

We asked some of our esteemed students, faculty, and alumni to share the reasons they're grateful to have chosen Curtis as a place to study and teach.


“The music I’ve heard and the people I’ve met at Curtis have changed me, and those things really go hand in hand. Everyone here loves music so deeply that it changes them as people. I go to school with artists—people who love what they do and who are so good at it—and I’m impressed every day by the level of music-making here, both by students and faculty. They all have motivated me and inspired me on such a high level.”

Steven Franklin (Trumpet), Curtis student, C. Richard Neu and Virginia L. Ambrosini Annual Fellow



“The school’s smallness allows you the mental space to grow and discover what you want to do. Find your love and home in on it. The percussion field is so full of possibilities, and here [students] can explore that.”

Don Liuzzi, Curtis timpani and percussion faculty, Philadelphia Orchestra principal timpanist

“Curtis is the most nurturing environment in which an artist can grow, and explore what works for them. Because of the size, because of the student-teacher ratio, and because of the huge range of performance opportunities and projects that students can pursue, [including] community engagement, support for entrepreneurial ideas. And the faculty … I think they’re amazing. The culture here is extremely nurturing in a way that’s really unique.”

Mary Javian (Double Bass ’99), Curtis alumna, chair of career studies and director of community engagement and professional development


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