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Topic: Conservatory Audition Repertoire  (Read 1400 times)

Offline khanngtma

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Conservatory Audition Repertoire
on: July 30, 2021, 03:33:08 AM
Hey guys! I'm going to be applying to music schools for Fall 2022 as a Piano Performance Major. Here's what I intend to present as my audition material. Some of these are already done, and some are still works in progress, but I believe I can finish and polish any combinations of the repertoire down below.

1. Bach work: For this, I've decided on Bach's French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816
2. Classical Sonata: I'm still juggling between Mozart's Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 333, and Beethoven's Sonata in E minor, Op. 90. I've worked on both of these before and either of them just needs polishing work.
3. Etude: The most difficult etude I've worked on by far is Chopin's Op. 10 No. 5 in G-flat Major, so I think I would go with that.
4. Romantic work: I'm juggling between Chopin's Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47, and his Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44. I love both equally, but I'm afraid the Ballade might be too short and not "substantial" enough.
5. 20th/21st Century work: This is where I'm struggling. I've never played anything substantially modern. The more "modern" material I've had experience with is a few short Debussy pieces, which I think are a bit too easy, and a little bit of Rachmaninov, which I think is still very much romantic. Please suggest something for me based on my other repertoire, or nothing at all, as this is mostly optional at most schools.

So, granted I play these pieces well, do you think these pieces are appropriate for schools like the New England Conservatory and the Oberlin Conservatory. Thank you all so much for spending your time as well as all your advice!

Offline lelle

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Re: Conservatory Audition Repertoire
Reply #1 on: July 30, 2021, 12:47:41 PM
I have no idea what is suitable for those schools. But one thought I have is that the Polonaise Op. 44 might be a tricky piece to audition with because it is a difficult piece to make a convincing renditon of. (I love the piece though.) It's long, and has a lot of material that is repeated several times, and a lot of it is in loud dynamics. First, the main theme/section is played no less than three times with only little variation. Then comes that long, repetitive march like section. Then there's the Mazurka theme that's played four times in different keys. Then the main theme comes two times again. It can very easily turn into a piece that is a slog to sit through unless it is played amazingly well. Consider that audition juries have to sit through a lot of music that is not always well played; the polonaise risks testing their patience a bit too much. The ballade, for comparison, is a more varied piece in terms of characters, dynamics, themes and so on so it may be a safer choice, even if it's likely that more people play it. That's just my opinion so I hope others can chime in.

Offline quantum

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Re: Conservatory Audition Repertoire
Reply #2 on: July 30, 2021, 02:52:49 PM
For the long works like classical sonata or romantic, don't worry about a piece being too long.  It is likely a jury will only listen to a small portion of it.  Just be ready to start anywhere in the piece.  For example the jury might just ask for the coda of the Ballade. 

Etude.  Don't pick the most difficult one you play.  Pick one that shows your strengths. 

20th/21st century, your chance to show breadth in repertoire and versatility.  The rest of your program has very mainstream choices from the canon.






Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline nightwindsonata

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Re: Conservatory Audition Repertoire
Reply #3 on: July 31, 2021, 12:42:34 AM
Generally, the best practices for picking repertoire are as follows:
-Play things you are comfortable with. Playing a harder piece poorly will not get you in to the school.
-Avoid warhorse pieces where possible, or limit them to one part of your program. Every faculty member will know those pieces better than you, and has likely played them since before you were born; so the expectations are incredibly high! Of course, you can't really do this for Etudes, as the whole point of the Etude requirement is to demonstrate your capacity to play a virtuosic, well-known piece with rock-solid technique.
-The length of the piece is mostly irrelevant, as they will probably only ask for individual parts of the piece (such as a movement from a sonata, or the coda of the Ballade), though you never know what exactly they're going to ask for, so you should of course prepare all of it.
With that in mind, I would recommend the Beethoven over the Mozart, just because Beethoven's work is typically easier to bring across convincingly, while Mozart is often very transparent and requires a special attention to detail that, despite all your best efforts at this time, may not satisfy the committee. Also, the Op. 90 is played much less often than the other Sonatas, so I think it is quite viable for an audition. I also recommend you pick the Polonaise over the Ballade--the Chopin Ballades are very famous and steeped almost two centuries of traditions, and the pressure will be on to play it better than the dozens of other people who are also playing it that you're competing against to get into the school. You may or may not be better at it than they are; but it's best not to invite the comparison in the first place, and instead to push present your own pieces that represent you as uniquely as possible.

On a side note for the modern works, might I also recommend you research the music of Florence Price? She's a very underrated black American composer, and I will be presenting one of her unpublished pieces, "Clouds," as part of my master's audition this coming fall.
1st-year Master's Program:
- Ravel Piano Concerto
- Liszt Ricordanza
- Liszt 3 Liebestraums
- Liszt 3 Sonnets

- Rhapsody in Blue
- Dante Sonata
- Schubert Sonata D.780
- Mozart Piano Quartet in Gm

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Conservatory Audition Repertoire
Reply #4 on: July 31, 2021, 10:24:38 PM
Generally, the best practices for picking repertoire are as follows:
-Play things you are comfortable with. Playing a harder piece poorly will not get you in to the school.
-Avoid warhorse pieces where possible, or limit them to one part of your program. Every faculty member will know those pieces better than you, and has likely played them since before you were born; so the expectations are incredibly high! Of course, you can't really do this for Etudes, as the whole point of the Etude requirement is to demonstrate your capacity to play a virtuosic, well-known piece with rock-solid technique.
-The length of the piece is mostly irrelevant, as they will probably only ask for individual parts of the piece (such as a movement from a sonata, or the coda of the Ballade), though you never know what exactly they're going to ask for, so you should of course prepare all of it.
With that in mind, I would recommend the Beethoven over the Mozart, just because Beethoven's work is typically easier to bring across convincingly, while Mozart is often very transparent and requires a special attention to detail that, despite all your best efforts at this time, may not satisfy the committee. Also, the Op. 90 is played much less often than the other Sonatas, so I think it is quite viable for an audition. I also recommend you pick the Polonaise over the Ballade--the Chopin Ballades are very famous and steeped almost two centuries of traditions, and the pressure will be on to play it better than the dozens of other people who are also playing it that you're competing against to get into the school. You may or may not be better at it than they are; but it's best not to invite the comparison in the first place, and instead to push present your own pieces that represent you as uniquely as possible.

On a side note for the modern works, might I also recommend you research the music of Florence Price? She's a very underrated black American composer, and I will be presenting one of her unpublished pieces, "Clouds," as part of my master's audition this coming fall.

Good advice. Where did you learn this? Are you experienced with doing auditions?

Offline nightwindsonata

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Re: Conservatory Audition Repertoire
Reply #5 on: August 01, 2021, 06:59:51 PM
Good advice. Where did you learn this? Are you experienced with doing auditions?

This is basically just the advice my teacher gave me when we were choosing my audition program lol. He listens to auditions for our school and for competitions all the time.
1st-year Master's Program:
- Ravel Piano Concerto
- Liszt Ricordanza
- Liszt 3 Liebestraums
- Liszt 3 Sonnets

- Rhapsody in Blue
- Dante Sonata
- Schubert Sonata D.780
- Mozart Piano Quartet in Gm
 

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