Piano Audition Requirements

Piano Audition Requirements

Undergraduate requirements (BM, BME)

Candidates for the major in piano performance are required to play all audition repertoire and scales from memory. All other piano candidates are required to play one composition by memory. It is highly recommended that all undergraduate piano candidates attend an on-campus audition.

On-Campus Audition Repertoire:

1. Prepare to play scales (one major and one harmonic minor, four octaves), selected by the audition committee.

2. A work by J.S. Bach, such as a Prelude and Fugue, etc.

3. One movement of a sonata by a Classical-era composer.

4. One composition from a composer of the 19th, 20th, or 21st century. Applicants are encouraged to select a work which best represents artistic interests. We also welcome works by women and underrepresented composers.

5. A short sight-reading example will be given.

6. Harmonization of a familiar melody to be selected by the audition committee.

Recorded Audition Steps (For candidates who opt to submit a recorded audition in lieu of an on-campus audition):

  1. Record and submit items 1-4 above.
  2. Applicants who choose to submit a recorded audition will be asked to participate in a virtual interview which will require access to a piano. The virtual interview format is outlined below:
For virtual interviews
  • A short piece will be sent to the applicant two hours in advance to prepare (in lieu of sight-reading). Applicants should prepare the piece to the best of their ability.
  • Harmonization of a familiar melody to be selected by the audition committee.
  • Applicants may be asked to perform any part of the repertoire submitted for the recorded audition during the virtual interview.

On-campus and virtual audition dates can be found here. Applicants can select their date and audition format preference on their supplemental music form. 

Graduate requirements (MM, AD, DMA)

Audition repertoire/pre-screening requirements were updated on 06/21/2024. If you have any questions about the new graduate requirements please email, Dr. Chi-Chen Wu at ccw@illinois.edu.

Pre-Screening Requirements:

All graduate piano applicants are required to submit a pre-screening recording by December 1. Selections should include repertoire representing 3 contrasting styles with each piece being performed in a single, unedited take. A complete sonata is not required, but if it is part of the program, an allegro movement must be included. Follow the recording instructions listed at the bottom of this page.

Prescreening recordings should be uploaded directly to the Graduate College application.

Applicants who pass the prescreening will be invited to play an on-campus audition or submit a final audition recording.

Live/Recorded Audition Requirements:

Applicants who advance through the prescreening round are strongly encouraged to attend an on-campus audition.

Graduate applicants must present an audition program approximately the length of a full recital, including a major work from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and contemporary (from the twentieth century to the present) eras.

Candidates who opt for a recorded sound file in lieu of an on-campus audition should upload their final audition recording to the Graduate College application and be prepared to play selections from that repertoire in their live online interview with the faculty.

Instructions on Pre-Screening and Final Audition Recordings:

Each piece must be performed in a single, unedited take. Every file should be clearly labeled with the composer’s name and the title of the work. The sound should be of the highest possible quality, the piano must be in tune, and proper lighting must be used. The camera should be placed where full range of movement and use of instrument are clearly shown- especially head, hands, and feet.

Note: Piano Performance candidates may also apply for an Accompanying Assistantship.

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