Strings Audition Repertoire

Due to the present Covid surge, NEC has made the decision to move final auditions to an all-recorded format for most majors and programs. We hope this adjustment will help all applicants and their families remain healthy and avoid travel delays. 

Final recorded auditions will be due on the following dates: Double Bass - February 7, 2022; Violin, Viola, Cello, Harp, Guitar - February 14, 2022.

  • Please read the recording guidelines carefully.

  • Piano accompaniment is encouraged: we do however recognize the possible challenges in rehearsing with a pianist due to the global pandemic; please use your best judgement and contact us with any concerns.

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

Audition Repertoire Guidelines - Updated January 14, 2022

For any questions about specific repertoire selections, please make your best judgement or consult with your private teacher. We cannot offer guidance for repertoire substitutions. 

Violin 

Undergraduate Final Auditions:

  • Please record a brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish. 
  • Please record a 15-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, comprised of at least 3 different selections from the repertoire listed below. You may stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected time frame. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape must include:
  1. The exposition of the first movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945 (memorized). If you select Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform the opening of the fourth movement and cadenza.
  2. One movement from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach (memorized, no repeats). 
  3. One selection from a piece of your choosing, such as an etude or caprice, a movement of a sonata, or an additional work of your choice. Please choose a program which is varied in style and which best represents you both violinistically and artistically.

 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

  • Please record a brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish. 
  • Please record a 15-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, comprised of at least 3 different selections from the repertoire listed below. You may stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected time frame. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape must include:
  1. The exposition of the first movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945 (memorized). If you select Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform the opening of the fourth movement and cadenza.
  2. At least one movement from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach (memorized, no repeats), within the following selections. If performing more than one movement, please select from the same work:
    • G minor sonata: Fuga, Siciliana
    • B minor partita: Sarabande, Tempo di Borea 
    • 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 piece of your choosing, such a Paganini caprice, a movement of a sonata, or an additional work of your choice. Please choose a program which is varied in style and which best represents you both violinistically and artistically.

 

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

  • Please record a brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish. 
  • Please record a 15-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take comprised of at least 3 different selections from the repertoire you would have presented in a live audition (including, but not limited to, concerti, sonatas, unaccompanied movements of works by J.S. Bach, and contemporary works) You may stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected time frame. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. You should present a varied program which is representative of your technical and artistic capability.
 

Viola

Undergraduate Final Auditions:

Please record a 15-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, comprised of the requirements listed below. Other than Bach, please stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected time frame; as a rough guideline, attempt to play a similar amount of your concerto and sonata/work of your choice. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape must include:

  1. One complete movement from a J.S. Bach cello suite, solo violin sonata or partita (no repeats).
  2. The first movement from a major concerto.
  3. One movement from a sonata, or another work of the applicant's choosing. Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers. 
  4. A brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish. 

*One or more of the chosen selections must be performed from memory. 

 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

Please record a 20-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, comprised of the four requirements listed below. Other than Bach, please stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected 20-minute time frame; as a rough guideline, attempt to play a similar amount of your concerto and sonata/work of your choice. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape must include:

  1. One complete movement from a J.S. Bach cello suite, solo violin sonata or partita (memorized; no repeats).
  2. The first movement from a major concerto (memorized).
  3. The first movement of a sonata.,
  4. A work of your choice which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers. For this selection, also include a short 1-2 minute verbal introduction to the music and why you chose this particular work. 

*One of the above works for graduate applicants must have been composed within your lifetime. 

 

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

Please follow the same requirements as Master of Music and Graduate Diploma, but note that there may also be an additional live Zoom portion of the audition which will draw from the complete works outlined above. 

 

Cello

Undergraduate Final Auditions:

Please record a ~15-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, comprised of the requirements listed below. Other than Bach, please stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected time frame. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape must include:

  1. One complete movement of a J.S. Bach Suite (memorized, no repeats). 
  2. The exposition of the first movement of a major cello concerto or your choice (memorized).
    • If performing Elgar, please include material from both the first and second movement. 
    • If performing the Rococo Variations, please include the Theme, and Variations 1, 2, 3, and 7.
  3. One of the following. Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers: 
    • The exposition of the first movement of a major sonata, or
    • A short showpiece, or
    • A Piatti Caprice or your choice.
  4. A brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish. 

 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

Please record a ~20-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, comprised of the requirements listed below. Other than Bach, please stop at an appropriate place in the music to fit your audition within the expected 20-minute time frame. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape must include:

  1. One complete movement of a J.S. Bach Suite (memorized, no repeats). 
  2. The exposition of the first movement of a major concerto of your choice (memorized), excluding Elgar and the Rococo Variations.
  3. The exposition of the first movement of a major sonata or an unaccompanied piece.
  4. An additional piece - or an excerpt of it - written after 1970. Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers. 
  5. A brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish. 

 

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

Please record a ~25-minute audition in one continuous and unedited take, of a program of your personal choice with as much variety as possible. You may stop at an appropriate place in each of your selections in order to fit within the 25-minute time frame. Please make every possible effort to record non-solo works with piano accompaniment. Your tape should also include a brief verbal introduction, including comments about your musical background, repertoire choices, or any topic you may wish. 

Note that you may also be asked to have a Zoom meeting with the Cello Faculty.

 

Double Bass

Undergraduate Final Auditions:

  1. Two contrasting movements from the solo literature
  2. An etude OR a movement from a Bach suite
  3. Two contrasting orchestral excerpts

You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections for parts of this requirement. 

 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

  1. Two contrasting movements of a major concerto (memorized).
  2. One movement from a J.S. Bach Cello Suite (memorized).
  3. Two contrasting orchestral excerpts.
  4. A short contemporary work: Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers. 

You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections for parts of this requirement. 

 

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

  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.

You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections for parts of this requirement. 

 

Guitar

Undergraduate & Graduate Final Auditions:

  • Please record a brief, spoken personal introduction to help the faculty get to know you. Include your specific reasons for applying to NEC, your musical interests, and anything about your personal story that relates to your music making.
  • The NEC guitar department encourages candidates to play what they love and show some variety of style. Please record 10 to 15 minutes of contrasting repertoire; all works should be played from memory. Possible repertoire may include, but is not limited to: Movements from a major work by J.S. Bach (e.g. lute suites, violin sonatas and partitas, cello suites, etc.); important 20th-century sonatas (e.g. Ponce, Turina, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Berkeley, Henze, Tippett, Brouwer); etudes written for the guitar (e.g. Villa-Lobos, Sor, Barrios, Tarrega, Brouwer, Regondi); tremolo pieces.

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

 

Harp

Undergraduate & Graduate Final Auditions:

Please record and upload each of the following requirements. You are welcome to re-submit videos from the prescreening round, provided that they fulfill the requirements.

  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 to explore works by underrepresented composers. 
  5. A brief (1-2 minute) verbal introduction so the faculty can get to know you. You can include comments about your musical and family background, your repertoire choices, your non-musical activities, or any topic you may wish.