Strings Audition Repertoire

Live auditions at NEC are required for all violin, viola, cello, and harp applicants. Live auditions are required for all double bass and guitar applicants living in North America, as well as all applicants to the Harvard/NEC dual degree program, DMA, and Artist Diploma programs regardless of their instrument or country of residence.

Applicants in violin, viola, and cello are strongly encouraged to perform the live audition with a collaborative pianist, especially for required sonata repertoire. Applicants must arrange for their own pianists; the Admissions Office will provide a list of local collaborative pianists for hire.

Prescreening

Prescreening recordings are required for all applicants to NEC. After reviewing the recording guidelines, please upload your prescreening recording files as part of your online application. DMA prescreening repertoire requirements are the same as for the live audition. Artist Diploma requirements are found on the Artist Diploma audition requirements page.

Repertoire and Audition Dates

Violin

Undergraduate Prescreening:

  1. Exposition from the first movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945. Stravinsky Concerto and Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 are also acceptable. If you select Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform the fourth movement and cadenza instead of the first movement.
  2. Two movements from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach (the Chaconne is considered one movement)

Graduate Prescreening:

  1. Exposition from the first movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945. Stravinsky Concerto and Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 are also acceptable. If you select the Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform the fourth movement and cadenza instead of the first movement.
  2. Two movements from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach (the Chaconne is considered one movement)
  3. One Paganini Caprice

Live Audition Dates 2020

Sunday, February 9, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Sunday, February 23, 2020

Undergraduate Live Auditions:

  1. First movement of a major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945. Stravinsky Concerto and Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 are also acceptable. If you select the Shostakovich No. 1, you must perform the fourth movement and cadenza instead of the first movement. (memorized)
  2. Two movements from an unaccompanied sonata or partita by J.S. Bach (memorized)
  3. One Paganini Caprice (memorized)
  4. First movement of a sonata for violin and piano, of contrasting style from the selected concerto

Graduate Live Auditions:

  1. Complete major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945. Stravinsky Concerto and Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 are also acceptable. (memorized)
  2. Complete unaccompanied work for violin by J.S. Bach (memorized)
  3. Two Paganini Caprices (memorized)
  4. Complete sonata for violin and piano, of contrasting style from the selected concerto
 

Viola

Undergraduate Prescreening:

  1. The Prelude from a Bach Cello Suite, or a movement from a Bach solo violin sonata or partita
  2. One movement of a sonata (solo or with piano)
  3. One movement of a concerto. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • First movement with cadenza of the Stamitz D Major, Hoffmeister D Major, Rolla E-flat Major or Vanhal C Major
    • First or second movement of Walton
    • First or second and third movements of Bartok
    • Any movement of Hindemith Der Schwanendreher
    • A substantial fast movement of any 20th or 21st-century concerto

Graduate Prescreening:

  1. The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite, or two contrasting movements from a Bach solo violin sonata or partita
  2. A major movement of a concerto
  3. One complete sonata performed with piano

Live Audition Dates 2020

Sunday, February 9, 2020
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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

  1. The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite, or two contrasting movements from a Bach solo violin sonata or partita
  2. One movement from a major concerto
  3. One movement from a sonata

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

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Live Auditions:
Please consider the following to be guidelines rather than strict requirements; some flexibility in choice of repertoire is permitted.

  1. A complete Bach cello suite, violin partita, or sonata (memorized)
  2. A complete concerto (memorized)
  3. A complete sonata
  4. A piece of the applicant's choosing

One of the above should have been composed in the last 25 years (Ligeti sonata is allowed, but no other exceptions).

Doctor of Musical Arts Auditions:

Four complete works of contrasting styles, one of which has been composed in the last 25 years. The concerto and unaccompanied work should be performed from memory.

 

Cello

Undergraduate Prescreening:

  1. A major movement of a concerto
  2. The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite

Graduate Prescreening:

  1. A major movement of a concerto
  2. The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite
  3. Two contrasting movements of a standard sonata (e.g. Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff). The sonata must be performed with piano.
  4. One of the following:
    • A showpiece such as Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso, Popper Elfentanz, or Davidoff At the Fountain
    • An Italian sonata by Boccherini, Valentini or Locatelli
    • A Popper Etude or Piatti Caprice

DMA applicants should follow the full DMA live audition guidelines for their prescreening.

Live Audition Dates 2020

Friday, February 14, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
Sunday, February 23, 2020      

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

  1. A major movement of a concerto (memorized). For the Tchaikovsky Rococo, the full piece must be presented. For the Bloch Schelomo, rehearsal #20 through #30 must be included.
  2. The Prelude and any dance movement from a Bach Cello Suite (memorized)
  3. One of the following:
    • A showpiece such as Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso, Popper Elfentanz, or Davidoff At the Fountain
    • An Italian sonata by Boccherini, Valentini or Locatelli. One slow and one fast movement should be presented. No duo sonatas (Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) may be substituted in this category.
    • A Popper Etude or Piatti Caprice

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Live Auditions:
Please consider the following to be guidelines rather than strict requirements; some flexibility in choice of repertoire is permitted.

  1. A complete concerto from the standard repertoire (memorized)
  2. A complete Bach Suite (memorized)
  3. A complete work written after 1940
  4. One of the following: (memorized):
    • A showpiece such as Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso, Popper Elfentanz, or Davidoff At the Fountain
    • An Italian sonata by Boccherini, Valentini or Locatelli
    • A Popper Etude or Piatti Caprice

Optional: One movement of a standard sonata (e.g. Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff). If played, the sonata must be rehearsed and performed with a piano. A list of pianists is available from the Admissions Office.

Doctor of Musical Arts Auditions:

  1. A complete concerto from the standard repertoire (memorized)
  2. A complete Bach Suite (memorized)
  3. One movement of a standard sonata (e.g. Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff). The sonata must be rehearsed and performed with piano. A list of pianists is available from the Admissions Office.
  4. A 20th or 21st century work of major difficulty (e.g. Carter Sonata, Britten Solo Suite or Sonata, Poulenc Sonate, Hindemith or Kodaly solo sonatas).
  5. One of the following: (memorized)
    • A showpiece such as Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso, Popper Elfentanz, or Davidoff At the Fountain
    • An Italian sonata by Boccherini, Valentini or Locatelli
    • A Popper Etude or Piatti Caprice
 

Double Bass

Prescreening:

  1. A movement of a Bach Cello Suite or Baroque Sonata
  2. A movement from a concerto or solo piece
  3. Two contrasting orchestral excerpts

Live Audition Dates 2020

Sunday, January 19
Monday, January 20

Undergraduate:

  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:

  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

Doctor of Musical Arts:

  1. A complete concerto or sonata with piano accompaniment (memorized)
  2. Two contrasting movements from a Bach Cello Suite (memorized)
  3. A contemporary solo piece
  4. Standard orchestral excerpts of contrasting tempi and styles
 

Guitar

Prescreening

  • Short excerpts (two - three minutes) from each of two contrasting works of the applicants choice. 

Live Audition Date 2020

Friday, February 14, 2020

Undergraduate & Graduate:
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

Prescreening Recording:

  1. One etude
  2. One piece from the standard concert repertoire ranging 7 to 10 minutes in length 
  3. Orchestral excerpt: Britten Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (cadenza only)

Live Audition Date 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

Undergraduate Live Auditions:

  1. One etude
  2. Two pieces from the standard concert repertoire
  3. Orchestral excerpt: Verdi La Forza del Destino

Graduate Live Auditions:

  1. One etude
  2. Two pieces from the standard concert repertoire
  3. Orchestral excerpt: Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

 

Final Video Recorded Auditions

Applicants residing outside of North America who are not applying to the Artist Diploma, DMA, or Harvard/NEC dual degree programs may be considered for admission based on the submission of a final recorded audition. Given the competitive nature of our programs, applicants are strongly encouraged to present a live audition at NEC.

If a prescreening recording is required of your intended major or program, you must submit this as a part of the online application. If you pass the prescreening round, you will be invited to submit a final video audition recording in January. Repertoire requirements for the final video audition recording are the same as those for live auditions. Final audition video recordings are due by February 1, but all other application and supporting materials, including prescreening if required, are due by December 1. No recording will be reviewed without a completed application.