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Undergraduate Music Audition Requirements


Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment. For Transfer students only, please prepare the graduate requirements for your audition.

  • An étude;
  • Two movements of contrasting nature and tempi from a sonata or concerto;
  • Please prepare all major scales and arpeggios;
  • Possible sight-reading.

Recorded audition information.


Pre-screen required.

  • Applicants to the BM in Composition should submit a portfolio of between two and five works (no more), at least one of which must be for two or more instruments, and at least two of which were written in the last two years.
  • Scores should be legibly notated (by hand or by computer).
  • Recordings of your works, if available, are encouraged.
  • Include an accompanying score for each submitted recording.
  • Write a short essay describing your musical influences and enthusiasms and what you hope to achieve as a composer.
      (Note: This is separate from the writing sample about your interest in The Boston Conservatory on the online application.)
  • Applicants may be asked to interview, in which case an in-person interview is preferred.

All of the above pre-screen materials must be submitted onlinePre-screen materials sent via mail will not be accepted, and you will be asked to submit online. 


Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment. All candidates may use The Boston Conservatory harps to practice and audition (during audition weekend only). Applicants may also choose to bring their own harp. To arrange this, please contact Harp Faculty and Coordinator, Ina Zdorovetchi.

Available harps:

  • Lyon-Healy (style 100) - new
  • Salvi (Daphne)
  • Camac (Atlantide Prestige)

Applicants should prepare the following repertoire for a live or recorded audition.


Choose one etude: 

  • Bochsa: Fifty Studies, Op. 34, Book II (Hasselmans edition), No. 39 (E-flat Major)
  • Pozzoli: Studies of Moderate Difficulty, No. 5

Two solo pieces

Choose two of the following pieces, or play two compositions of similar, or higher degree of difficulty. Please contact department coordinator for repertoire approval.

  • Grandjany: Fantasie on a Theme by Haydn
  • Salzedo: Whirlwind
  • Dussek: Sonata in C minor (any edition)
  • Pescetti: Sonata in C minor (any edition)
  • Tournier: Feerie
  • Tournier: Vers la source dans le bois
  • Handel: Passacaglia from Suite No. 7 (any edition)

Orchestra excerpts

Choose two of the following orchestra excerpts:

  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker, "Waltz of the Flowers" Cadenza
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Cadenza
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Español
  • Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Cadenza and/or Fugue 

Recorded audition information.


Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment.

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the areas described below. You are encouraged to program creatively so as to represent your skills well, and also demonstrate something unique about yourself as a musician.

Snare Drum
Perform both of the following, totaling about four minutes:

  • Concert étude. Suggested composers: Délécluse, Cirone, Aleo, Peters.
  • Rudimental solo. Suggested composers: Pratt, Tompkins, Wilcoxon.

Mallets (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone—your choice)

Perform both of the following, totaling at least four minutes:

Note: For two-mallet and/or four-mallet solo, creative adaptations of any other composers' works are most welcome. In general, pieces with tempo fluctuations and a variety of rhythms and characters are preferred over perpetual motion pieces. 


Perform the following, totaling about three minutes:

  • Solo piece about three minutes in duration. Suggested composers: Woud, Hochrainer, Firth, Délécluse, Lepak, Macarez, Carter.

Note: Etudes that demonstrate standard orchestral timpani musicianship (e.g., Woud or Hochrainer etudes) are preferred over Carter solos.

Recorded audition information.


Pre-screen required.

Only those applicants who pass the pre-screening round will be invited for a live audition in Boston. The audio and video should be of high quality, and the video must clearly show the applicant's hands. If you plan to audition by recording, you must submit a video online with all of the live audition requirements. Incomplete or audio-only recorded auditions will not be accepted.

Pre-screen recording requirements

  • Applicants should video record and upload a program of at least 20 minutes including two or more contrasting works.
  • Single movements of multi-movement works are acceptable for the pre-screen recording, only.
  • Complete works are to be prepared for the live audition, if invited.

Live audition requirements: Freshman and Transfer applicants

If invited for a live audition, applicants should prepare all of the following. Multi-movement works must be prepared in their entirety. All works are to be performed from memory.

  1. A Prelude and Fugue from the “Well-Tempered Clavier” or another work by Bach including a Fugue.
  2. A complete Sonata by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert
  3. A major work for solo piano from the Romantic Era (including Rachmaninoff)
  4. A solo piano piece from the 20th or 21st century.
  5. One virtuosic etude, such as those by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, or Ligeti



Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

It is not required that you perform your audition with piano accompaniment, and The Boston Conservatory cannot provide an accompanist for you. But for those who would like to work with a pianist, the Interim String Department Chair, Lawrence Isaacson, can provide a list of local collaborative pianists for hire. A grand piano will be available in the audition room. 

  • An etude or short technical work that best demonstrates your ability to shift freely around the instrument with good control of bowing articulation
  • Two movements of unaccompanied Bach (bass players may substitute with another work of their choice)
  • A complete first or last movement from the standard concerto repertoire
  • Prepare a scale of your choice (major or minor) in 3-4 octaves performed with a minimum of 4 notes slurred per bow, plus the corresponding arpeggios. The arpeggio cycle of Flesch or Galamian is preferred and should be performed 3 notes slurred to a bow.
  • There will be brief sight reading at the live audition.

Recorded audition information.


Pre-screen required.

All voice applicants require the submission of a pre-screen recording (audio or video; video preferred) by the December application deadline.

The required method for submitting your recording is online via DecisionDesk. You will need to register and submit your pre-screen by the deadline. CDs or DVDs are not permitted. 

This pre-screen recording must be accompanied, and should include representative pieces which fulfill the audition requirements (below). They do not have to be the repertoire you plan to sing for your audition. All works are to be performed from memory. If you are invited for a live audition, a staff accompanist will be provided by The Boston Conservatory.

  • An Italian art song from the 17th or 18th century
  • An art song in German or French
  • An art song in English (not in translation)
  • No operatic arias, please

*Please note that Bachelor of Music applicants cannot audition for the Opera Emphasis option until their sophomore year at the Boston Conservatory.

Recorded audition information.


Bassoon, Clarinet, Flute, Oboe, Saxophone

Instrumental auditions must be performed without accompaniment.

Note: If you are submitting a recorded audition, please make sure that there is no accompaniment and that the recording has not been edited and does not contain reverb.

  • An étude
  • Two movements of a contrasting nature from a sonata or concerto

Recorded audition information.

Recorded Auditions

Our required method of receiving audition recordings and pre-screens is online through DecisionDesk. However, Composition applicants may choose to mail their portfolios to the Admissions Office.

For more information about recorded auditions, please click here.

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