Strings Audition Repertoire

Prescreening video submissions are due as part of the online Embark application by December 1, 2021. Final recorded auditions (if applicable, please read below) will be due on the following dates: Double Bass and Harp - January 8, 2022; Violin, Viola, Cello, Guitar - February 1, 2022.

Please read the following audition guidelines carefully:

  • NEC will return to a live audition format, with flexibility for applicants who are unable to travel to Boston due to ongoing pandemic restrictions. 

  • Applicants to the Bachelor of Music, Tufts/NEC Five-Year Dual-Degree, Master of Music, and Graduate Diploma will be offered equal consideration for both recorded auditions and in-person auditions to accommodate applicants who are unable to travel. All application materials, including most repertoire requirements, will be the same for in-person and recorded auditions.

  • Due to the selective nature of our Doctor of Musical Arts, Harvard/NEC Five-Year Dual-Degree, and Artist Diploma programs, applicants to those programs must present a live audition on campus.

  • Please read the recording guidelines for prescreening, as well as final recorded auditions, 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

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

Prescreening (all degree programs):

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

  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). Please note that repeats are not required. You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections 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 to explore works by underrepresented composers. 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

  1. A complete major concerto for violin and orchestra written between 1800 and 1945 (memorized). Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 is also acceptable.
  2. A complete unaccompanied Sonata or Partita by J.S. Bach (memorized). Please note that repeats are not required.
  3. One Paganini Caprice (memorized).
  4. A complete sonata for violin and piano, of contrasting style from the selected concerto.
  5. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers.

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

  • 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):

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

  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. You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections 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 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. 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma Final Auditions:

  1. The prelude and one dance movement from a J.S. Bach cello suite, violin partita, or sonata (memorized).
  2. Excerpts of your choosing from a complete major concerto for viola and orchestra totaling around 12-15 minutes (memorized). Please include the Exposition and Development of the first movement, and cadenza, if applicable.
  3. The first movement of a sonata for viola and piano, of contrasting style to the selected concerto.
  4. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers. 

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

Doctor of Musical Arts Final Auditions:

  • 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:

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

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

  2. Two contrasting movements of a J.S. Bach Suite (memorized).

Final Auditions:

  1. The entire first movement of a major cello concerto (memorized). If performing Elgar, please prepare movements 1 & 2.
  2. Two contrasting movements of a J.S. Bach Suite (memorized). You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections for this requirement.
  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
  4. One piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explore works by underrepresented composers. 

Master of Music and Graduate Diploma

Prescreening:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) so that 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).

Final Auditions:

  1. A complete concerto from the standard repertoire (memorized).
  2. A complete J.S. Bach Suite (memorized).
  3. A complete work written after 1970.
  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
  5. An additional piece of your choosing which is personally meaningful to you (memorized). Applicants are encouraged to explore works by underrepresented composers. 

Doctor of Musical Arts

Prescreening:

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) so that the faculty get to know you. You can talk about your musical and family background, comments 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).

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

Final Auditions:

  • 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

Prescreening (all degree programs):

  • All applicants should include a brief video introduction (no longer than 2 minutes) so that 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 movement of a J.S. Bach Suite or Baroque Sonata.
  2. A movement from a concerto or solo piece.
  3. Two contrasting orchestral excerpts.

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

One or more of these chosen selections should be performed from memory. You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections for parts of this requirement. If submitting a final recorded audition, you must re-record the requirements. 

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. If submitting a final recorded audition, you must re-record the requirements. 

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. If submitting a final recorded audition, you must re-record the requirements. 

 

Guitar

Undergraduate & Graduate (all degree programs; live and recorded auditions):

  • 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 (all degree programs):

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

Undergraduate & Graduate Final Auditions:

  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. 

You may use your original prescreening repertoire selections for parts of this requirement. If submitting a final recorded audition, you must re-record the requirements.