Classical Auditions

Audition repertoire: Applicants should prepare standard selections which give an accurate impression of their highest level of playing and demonstrate a high potential for instrumental mastery. These might include scales and arpeggios, classical solos or etudes for instrument/voice, works with orchestral accompaniment, and excerpts from ensemble repertoire or jazz standards or traditional repertoire on non-western instruments. The ideal choice of repertoire will include selections of contrasting style, mood, tempo and technique. B.M. applicants should prepare approximately 20 minutes of music; M.M. applicants should prepare 30 minutes of music. B.A. applicants who choose to audition should prepare 10 minutes of music. Applicants may bring an accompanist, but this is optional.

If you have further questions about the specifics of your audition, please contact the area coordinators listed below.

View the specific requirements for each instrument for the School of Music auditions.

You will also need to fill out the School of Music Audition form.

Violin

  • Scales: Major, three octaves
  • Arpeggios: Major, three octaves
  • Etudes: One selection from a Paganini Caprice
  • Repertoire: Two selections as outlined below
    - Bach: Adagio or Grave and Fugue from the G minor, A minor, or C Major sonatas; or an entire Partita
    - The first movement of a Romantic concerto, i.e. Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Mendelssohn 

Viola

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, three octaves
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor, three octaves
  • Repertoire:
    - A Bach unaccompanied suite for cello
    - A movement of a concerto by Bartók or Walton or Hindemith: Der Schwanendreher

Cello

  • Scales: Major and minor, three octaves
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor, three octaves
  • Repertoire:
    - Two movements from any Bach unaccompanied suite (memorized)
    - Two contrasting movements from major solo works or concertos representing two different eras

Double Bass

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, three octaves
  • Repertoire:
    - A movement from any Bach suite for cello
    - Two movements from a major concerto, e.g. Dragonetti, Koussevitsky, or Bottesini
  • Orchestral Excerpts: Any two of the following:
    - Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, Scherzo and Trio
    - Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Recitative
    - Mozart: Marriage of Figaro, Overture
    - Prokofiev: Lt. Kiji Suite, solo
    - Verdi: Othello, solo 

Flute

  • Scales: Major, minor, and chromatic, throughout the range of the instrument
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor throughout the range of the instrument
  • Repertoire:
    - One movement with cadenza from Mozart concertos in D or G
    - One movement or work from the 20th century
    - A movement or work of your choice
  • Orchestral Excerpts: Three contrasting excerpts of your choice

Oboe

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, throughout the range of the instrument
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor, throughout the range of the instrument
  • Repertoire: Three contrasting movements from major solo works or concertos, representing three different musical eras

Clarinet

  • Scales: Major, minor, and chromatic throughout the range of the instrument
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor, throughout the range of the instrument
  • Repertoire:
    - One movement from a major 18th or 19th century concerto, e.g. Mozart, Weber, or similar
    - One movement or work from the 20th century
    - A movement or work of your choice
  • Orchestral Excerpts: Three contrasting excerpts of your choice

Bassoon

  • Scales: All major and minor, both slurred and articulated in three octaves. (Scales in C#, D, and Eb should be prepared in two octaves.)
  • Repertoire:
    - One movement from a major 18th or 19th century concerto, e.g. Mozart, Weber, or similar.
    - One movement or work from the 20th or 21st century, e.g. Nielsen Concerto, Corigliano Concerto, Stravinsky 3 Pieces or similar.
    - A movement or work of your choice (should contrast in style and tempo from other solo works being performed.)
  • Orchestral Excerpts: Three contrasting excerpts of your choice

Saxophone

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, throughout the range of the instrument
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor, throughout the range of the instrument
  • Repertoire: Three contrasting movements from major solo works or concertos, representing three different musical eras 

Horn

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, two octaves
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor triads, over the full range of the instrument
  • Etudes: None
  • Repertoire: Four selections as outlined below
    - One movement of a concerto by Strauss, Hindemith, Jacob, or Weber
    - One movement of a major work by Hindemith, Dukas, Schuman, Bozza, or Britten
    - Two contrasting excerpts from: Till Eulenspiegel, Tchaikovsky Symphony 5, Brahms Symphony 1 or 3, Shostakovich Symphony 5, Beethoven Symphony 3, Siegfried’s Rhine Journey including transposition

Trumpet

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, two octaves; chromatic low F-sharp to high B-flat on B-flat trumpet.
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor triads, over the full range of the instrument
  • Etudes: Two contrasting etudes from Arban, Bousquet, Brandt, Charlier, Goldman, Sachse, or Smith Top Tones
  • Repertoire: Three contrasting movements from Arutunian, Haydn, Hummel, Neruda or Telemann Concertos; Halsey Stevens, Hindemith or Kennan Sonatas; or Honneger Intrada including transposition

Trombone

  • Scales: Major and melodic minor, at least two octaves; chromatic from valve low E-flat to high B-flat
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor triads, at least two octaves
  • Etudes: One each from Rochut Melodius Etudes, Book 2 Marcel Bitsch Advanced Etudes
  • Repertoire:
    - Two movements from any standard concerto (e.g. Lars Eric Larsson, Ferdinand David; Launy Grondahl; Henri Tomasi; Paul Creston Fantasy; etc.)
    - Several standard orchestral excerpts (e.g. Ravel: Bolero; Mozart: Tuba Mirum solo from the Requiem; Rossini: William Tell Overture; Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel; Wagner: Ride of the Valkyrie; Saint-Saens: Third Symphony Adagio)

Tuba

  • Scales: Major and natural, harmonic, and melodic minor, whole-tone, and chromatic; staccato and legato
  • Arpeggios: Major and minor triads
  • Etudes: Two contrasting etudes from Rochut: volume I and II; Blazhevich: volume I and II, Kopprasch: Studies, Arban: Studies, Vasiliev: Melodious Etudes
  • Repertoire: Carnival of Venice; one concerto movement, memorized: e.g. Strauss: horn concerto no. 1 or no. 2, transcription of a J.S. Bach flute or cello concerto; orchestral repertoire examples from Torchinsky: 20th-century Orchestra Studies or Brown: Orchestral Excerpts

Piano

  • Repertoire: Four or five contrasting works from different eras. At least two works must be memorized.
  • Repertoire examples:
    - Prelude and Fugue from Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier, or an English Suite
    - A mature work by Haydn, J. Dussek, Weber, Beethoven, or Schubert
    - A concerto or sonata by Mozart
    - A Romantic, Late Romantic, or twentieth-century sonata or other large-scale work, i.e. Chopin: Ballade, or Schumann: Papillion
    - Character pieces or etudes by Szymanowski, Martinu, Janacek, Schoenberg, Webern, Ligeti, Bartok, Faure, Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, or Stravinsky
    - A serious work composed since 1950
    - Performers should be able to provide insight into historic and theoretical aspects of all works performed 

Guitar

  • Repertoire: Four contrasting works selected from the following examples:
    - Renaissance work at the level of Sanz, Narvaez, or Mudarra
    - Baroque work at the level of Weiss or Bach
    - Classical work at the level of Sor, Giulani, or Mertz
    - Romantic or Spanish work at the level of Tarrega, Moreno-Torroba, Albeniz, or Granados
    - 20th century work at the level of Martin, Henze, or Britten
    - A concerto by Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, or Ponce 

Harp

  • Scales and arpeggios in all keys and pedal settings
  • Two works chosen from:
    - 1) 1st movement of Handel: Concerto in B-flat, Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp, Debussy: Dances, Ravel: Introduction & Allegro
    - 2) A movement from a sonata by Hindemith, Houdy, Hovhaness, another major 20th century work, or major work by Grandjandy or Salzedo

Percussion

  • Technique and Repertoire: Demonstration of ability on snare drum, timpani, and marimba.
  • Examples:
    - Snare: One etude; One orchestral excerpt from the 20th century
    - Timpani: One movement from a major solo work or concerto (e.g. Carter's Eight Pieces for Four Timpani, Millhaud's Concerto for Percussion); Excerpts from two orchestral works (e.g. a Tchaikovsky Symphony, Strauss's Electra, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, Britten's Phaedra)
    - Marimba: Major, minor, and chromatic scales; One movement from a major work
    - Battery (optional): One movement or excerpt for percussion battery (e.g. Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat, Bartók's Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, Carter's Double Concerto)

Voice Auditions

Repertoire: At least two and no more than three pieces of contrasting moods and from contrasting periods. (Baroque, Romantic, contemporary, etc) One of the pieces must be in English, and at least one must be in a different language. The student should select the pieces that best show his/her voice, musicianship, communication, and personality. All selections should be in a classical style; pop, jazz, and contemporary musical theater are not appropriate. All selections must be memorized. The student may be asked to explain the meaning of the text of the songs.

You will also need to fill out the School of Music Audition form.

Sight-reading: Student may be asked to sight-read a simple melody.

Repertoire list: Students should bring a list of pieces that she/he has performed or studied.

Voice

  • Repertoire: Four pieces from contrasting periods (Baroque, Romantic, contemporary, etc) and of contrasting moods, one each in Italian, French, German, and English. Performers should select the pieces that best show his/her voice, musicianship, communication, and personality. All selections should be in a classical style; pop, jazz, and contemporary musical theater are not appropriate. All selections must be memorized. The student may be asked to explain the meaning of the selections.
  • Sight-Reading: Students may be asked to sight-sing a simple melody.
  • Repertoire list: Students should bring a list of pieces that she/he has performed or studied.

Choral Conducting

PLEASE NOTE: SF STATE IS NOT ACCEPTING CHORAL CONDUCTING APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME.