Strings Audition Repertoire

Violin, Viola, and Cello applicants only, please note: Prescreening video submissions for Violin, Viola, and Cello are due as part of the online Embark application by December 1, 2020. Invited applicants will be required to upload additional materials after prescreening review.

Audition recordings are required for all applicants to NEC. Piano accompaniment is optional: we recognize the possible challenges in rehearsing and recording with a pianist due to the global pandemic; please use your best judgement and contact us with any concerns. After reviewing the recording guidelines, please upload your recording files as part of your online application.

Artist Diploma requirements are found on the Artist Diploma audition requirements page.

Audition Repertoire Guidelines

Please consider the following to be guidelines rather than strict requirements; some flexibility in choice of repertoire is permitted.

Violin

Prescreening (all degree programs):

  1. The exposition, or first 5 minutes, of the 1st movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945. Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 is also acceptable. If you select Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform from the fourth movement and cadenza instead of the first movement.
  2. Two contrasting movements from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach. These movements may be either in the same recording video, or in two separate videos. 

Undergraduate Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. First movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945 (memorized). Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 is also acceptable. If you select Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform the fourth movement and cadenza instead of the first movement.
  2. Two contrasting movements from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach (memorized). You may use your original prescreening submission for this requirement.
  3. One etude or caprice from Rode Op. 22, Dont Op. 35, Wieniawski Op. 10 or 18, or Paganini Op. 1 (memorized)
  4. First movement of a sonata for violin and piano, of contrasting style from the selected concerto, or Exposition of the first movement of a Mozart concerto. If playing without piano, please select Mozart. 
  5. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged but not required to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. Selected portions of each movement from a complete major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945, totaling around 12-15 minutes (memorized). Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 is also acceptable. Please include the Exposition and Development of the first movement, and cadenza, if applicable. If choosing Shostakovich, this must include the entire cadenza and a significant portion of the last movement.
  2. Selected movements from one unaccompanied Sonata or Partita by J.S. Bach (memorized), as follows. You may use your original prescreening submission, if it satisfies the movement requirements:
    • G minor sonata: Fuga, Siciliana
    • B minor partita: Sarabande, Tempo di Borea (include all Doubles)
    • A minor sonata: Fuga, Andante
    • D minor partita: Corrente, Sarabanda, Ciaconna (until measure 133)
    • C major sonata: Adagio, Fuga
    • E major partita: Preludio, Loure, Gavotte en Rondeau 
  3. One Paganini Caprice (memorized)
  4. First movement of a sonata for violin and piano, of contrasting style from the selected concerto, or the first movement of a Mozart concerto. If playing without piano, please select Mozart. 
  5. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  • 5 complete works of contrasting styles, one of which was written in last 50 years, including a complete concerto, and complete unaccompanied Sonata or Partita by J.S. Bach.
 

Viola

Prescreening (all degree programs):

  1. The Prelude and any dance movement from a J.S. Bach Cello Suite, or two contrasting movements from a Bach solo violin sonata or partita.
  2. One movement from a concerto, sonata, or other work of an applicant’s choosing.

Undergraduate Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite, or two contrasting movements from a Bach solo violin sonata or partita. You may use your original prescreening submission for this requirement.
  2. One movement from a major concerto.
  3. One movement from a sonata, or another work of the applicant's choosing. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

One or more of the chosen selections should be performed from memory. You may use your original prescreening submission for either requirement #2 or #3, if it is complete for that round.

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. A complete J.S. Bach cello suite, violin partita, or sonata (memorized).
  2. A complete concerto (memorized).
  3. A complete sonata.
  4. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

One of the above must have been composed within your lifetime. 

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  • Four complete works of contrasting styles, one of which has been composed in your lifetime. Concerti and unaccompanied works should be performed from memory.
 

Cello

Undergraduate

Prescreening (memorized):

  1. The exposition, or first 5 minutes, of a major cello concerto.

  2. Two contrasting movements of a J.S. Bach Suite.

Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. The entire first movement of a major cello concerto (memorized).
  2. Two contrasting movements of a J.S. Bach Suite (memorized). You may use your original prescreening submission for this requirement.
  3. One significant Popper Etude or Piatti Caprice (memorized).
  4. The first movement of a sonata with piano, or, if recording without piano, of a significant unaccompanied piece.
  5. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma

Prescreening (memorized):

  1. The entire first movement of a major cello concerto.

  2. Two contrasting movements of a J.S. Bach Suite.

Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. Selected portions of each movement from a complete major concerto for cello, totaling around 12-15 minutes (memorized).
  2. Three movements of a J.S. Bach Suite (memorized). You may use your original prescreening submission for parts of this requirement.
  3. Two contrasting movements of a sonata with piano, or, if recording without piano, of a significant unaccompanied piece. If choosing Kodály, only one movement.
  4. A piece of any format (e.g., sonata, concerto, or solo work) which was written after 1970 (memorized).
  5. An additional piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you (memorized). Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

Doctor of Musical Arts

Prescreening (memorized):

  1. The entire first movement of a major cello concerto.

  2. Two contrasting movements of a J.S. Bach Suite.

  3. Excerpts from one of the works on your "Final Audition" list (see below), totaling no more than 5 minutes.

Final Auditions:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  • 5 complete works of contrasting styles, one of which was written in last 50 years, including a complete concerto, and a complete J.S. Bach Suite.
 

Double Bass

Undergraduate:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. Two contrasting movements from the solo literature
  2. An etude OR a movement from a Bach suite
  3. Two contrasting orchestral excerpts

One or more of these chosen selections should be performed from memory.

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. Two contrasting movements of a major concerto (memorized).
  2. One movement from a Bach Cello Suite (memorized).
  3. Two contrasting orchestral excerpts.
  4. A short contemporary work: Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.

Doctor of Musical Arts:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. A complete concerto or sonata (memorized).
  2. Two contrasting movements from a J.S. Bach Cello Suite (memorized).
  3. A contemporary solo piece: Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.
  4. Standard orchestral excerpts of contrasting tempi and styles.
 

Guitar

Undergraduate & Graduate (all degree programs):

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.

The NEC guitar department encourages candidates to play what they love and show some variety of style. All works should be performed from memory. Possible repertoire may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. One or more movements from a major work by J.S. Bach (e.g. lute suites, violin sonatas and partitas, cello suites, etc.)
  2. First movement from an important 20th-century sonata in sonata form (e.g. Ponce, Turina, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Berkeley, Henze, Tippett, Brouwer).
  3. One or more Etudes written for the guitar (e.g. Villa-Lobos, Sor, Barrios, Tarrega, Brouwer, Regondi); or a tremolo piece.

If you have questions about audition repertoire, you may contact Eliot Fisk or Jerome Mouffe via the NEC website.

 

Harp

Undergraduate & Graduate (all degree programs):

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) to help the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, your feelings about your chosen repertoire, your non-musical activities, or any other topic you wish.
  1. One etude.
  2. Two pieces from the standard concert repertoire.
  3. Orchestral excerpt:
    • Undergraduate: Verdi - La Forza del Destino
    • Graduate: Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique
  4. An additional piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. Please include a short introduction to the piece and why you chose it.​​​​​​​