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A Successful College Audition (Read 2661 times)

Offline vertigoone

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A Successful College Audition
« on: June 13, 2017, 03:11:42 AM »
Hello, fellow pianists and music lovers!

I'm planning to apply to a few colleges/conservatories for the 2018/19 school year.  I am seeking a master's degree in piano performance.

This last year, I was successful in the prescreening auditions at Eastman and Jacobs schools of music.  I got to live audition but was ultimately unsuccessful in impressing the judges.  

This year, I'm hoping to prepare an outstanding audition that will set me above the other students.  I will provide some info and then I would like your feedback!

I'm hoping to reapply to Jacobs (Indiana University) as well as Juilliard, Michigan, and a less prestigious school (still need to research).


Here is my 2017/18 audition repertoire (unsuccessful):
Sonata No. 8 "Pathetique" by Beethoven
Chaconne from Partita No. 2 by Bach/Busoni
Five Bagatelles (1998) by Carl Vine
Etude No. 5, Op. 10, "Black Key" by Chopin

It was somewhat 'thrown together' hence the more 'undergraduate' Pathetique sonata.  I felt this lineup did not exhibit my strengths and personality.

Here are the successful prescreening videos:

I am, however, considering a very different kind of program for 2018/19.  I thought that the Chopin, Busoni, and Beethoven were somewhat similar - little opportunity for showcasing a variety of colors and styles.

I believe my new program should present a more varied approach with distinct styles represented - baroque, early classical, romantic/impressionistic, and twentieth century.  I love ragtime and considered learning a Nikolai Kapustin piece - but I stand against 'hard' jazz for personal, moral reasons.  I couldn't find anything by him that was impressive, toned-down (jazz-wise), AND musically interesting to me.  However, I would be interested in such a piece and am open to suggestions.

Here is some repertoire I'm currently considering:

Prelude and Fugue no. 18 in G Sharp Minor from WTC Book 1
Possibly a Toccata and Fugue or Partita or French Suite?
Sonata No. 23 “Appassionata” by Beethoven
Sonata No. 21 “Waldstein” by Beethoven
Mozart Sonata in Bb Major, K. 281, by Mozart
Different Mozart? Sonata in F Major, K. 332?
Haydn Sonata?
L’isle Joyeuse by Debussy
Kreisleriana by Schumann
Carnaval de Vienne by Rosenthal
Twentieth Century
Original composition?

Transcendental Etude No. 8 "Wilde Jagd" by Liszt
Etude No. 6, Op. 25 "Thirds" by Chopin
Etude No. 4, Op. 10 "Torrent" by Chopin
Finish Op. 25 and have judges decide.

As you can see, I am also considering composing a piece for the twentieth-century portion of my audition program.  I think this would be a great idea because I could showcase my love for ragtime music and integrate important styles not represented in my other pieces.

Here is my current repertoire list.  Maybe you will see something that I'm missing: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XBLa45jNJz2PZFMVLPpTtaRnH7z8C6pXDf9R9Ysbah4/edit?usp=sharing

Also, here are the requirements at Jacobs School of Music and Juilliard for Masters of Piano Performance live auditions.

Jacobs: http://music.indiana.edu/admissions/auditions/piano.shtml

Julliard: https://www.juilliard.edu/apply-audition/application-audition-requirements/master-music-and-graduate-diploma/master-music-an-2#piano

IMPORTANT NOTE: at the live audition, judges generally listen to ONLY the first 3 minutes of each piece, so I should be careful to select pieces that start off with a 'bang.'
“I will seize fate by the throat; it shall certainly never wholly overcome me.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: A Successful College Audition
«Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 06:42:03 PM »
I was at a local community recital for Seton Hill College in Greensburg PA which is a very small "pond" if you will.  A high school girl there played a Brahms Intermezzo (or similar) flawlessly and was absolutely stunning.  High School?  And worse yet, the same area had a competition for local gifted youngsters and she only got an honorable mention with 3 other high school kids taking the prizes.  High School Kids?  When I was in high school, we'd just barely stopped playing with our own poop - to make a point (haha).

Your level of play is very good, but I wonder just how high the bar is these days (I'm 64.)

Did the judges give you any feedback?  I'd almost guess, No - it would be like giving kids the answers to a SAT or GRE.

RE:  #8, yes lots of technique demonstrated at the start, but I think you lost sight of the forest - too slow and hence boring - may be the slowest I ever heard.  Stretching out the Rubato turns into teasing the listener - you can tickle them but not tease them.  Of course, one could attempt a "Pires Schubert Impromptu #1 in C minor " approach which could work.  However it is totally dependent on exquisite rubato and mastering new depths of pianississ...imo.

I'm very curious to hear what others have to say.

Offline kalirren

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Re: A Successful College Audition
«Reply #2 on: July 01, 2017, 02:55:04 AM »
Caveat emptor: I've never studied piano academically, so my advice is only worth taking with a pile of salt.

That said, I think you really ought to find a way to show off your ragtime chops without composing your own piece. Without that, you'll be leaving a whole bunch of your artistic personality on the bench as you go into the audition, and that would be sad. Julliard lets you present a collection of shorter works already, so perhaps you could negotiate a large Joplin set as one of your "three major contrasting works" for Jacobs? Find out early.

Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
Franck: Sonata in A Major
Vieuxtemps: Sonata in Bb Major for Viola
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute in D Major

Offline brogers70

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Re: A Successful College Audition
«Reply #3 on: July 05, 2017, 01:21:13 AM »
For 20th century you might consider Milhaud's Saudades do Brasil, it might show off your jazzier skills.

Offline chopinawesome

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Re: A Successful College Audition
«Reply #4 on: July 05, 2017, 05:44:10 AM »
If you finish Chopin Op.25 and let the judges pick, I guarantee that they will pick nos.6 ,10, or 11( Sorry I didn't help at all) :)
Beethoven Op 2/2
Chopin Op 20, maybe op 47/38
Debussy Etude 7
Grieg Op 16
Want to do:
Chopin Concerti 1 and 2
Beethoven Waldstein
Ravel Miroirs