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Composition Auditions

You'll be great. Trust us.

We'll all ears. Before we became players, singers, conductors, and composers, listening was our first love. And it's still the skill that underlies everything we do at SFCM. Hearing and reading your work are the first steps toward a beautiful musical partnership. We can't wait.


Applicants must submit the following materials: three or more scores in various media and a recording (audio or audio-visual) of each score. Scores must show evidence of original musical thought, along with the fundamentals of compositional technique. While electronic compositions are acceptable, applicants must also demonstrate competence with traditional notation in the scores submitted. Computer-generated scores should be checked for correct transpositions, appropriate accidentals, and normal spellings. MIDI recordings are acceptable in exceptional cases, but acoustic performances are strongly recommended.

Live auditions at the Conservatory are required of the following applicants:

  • Anyone residing in California

Regional auditions are available for the following applicants:

  • Applicants residing outside of California

Final audition recordings are accepted from the following applicants:

  • Undergraduate applicants residing outside of California
  • Graduate applicants residing outside the United States
  • Composition applicants and Technology and Applied Composition applicants are strongly encouraged to audition at either a San Francisco audition or at a regional audition site. However, if unable to make a live audition, undergraduate and international applicants may submit a final piano recording to accompany their portfolio.
  • Final recordings must be submitted online through the formal DecisionDesk Application, found here, no later than December 1.

Final Audition Requirements

  1. Pre-screening portfolio, as described in the pre-screening section above, due December 1. The contents of this portfolio will be discussed at the live audition.
  2. Demonstrated ability at the piano. It is strongly recommended that this be done at a live audition, either at the Conservatory or at one of the regional audition sites. Undergraduate applicants who live outside California may submit a final audio-visual recording electronically in their DecisionDesk application. Three complete works or movements should be prepared from the following periods: baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th/21st century. When choosing the 20th/21st century category, the applicant is encouraged to perform one of his or her own compositions. Applicants may also be asked to realize figured bass at the piano, score-read a chamber work, and/or sight-read a simple piano work. Should piano not be the candidate's primary instrument, the applicant is welcome to upload an electronic recording of a performance on their primary instrument with their portfolio. Applicants must still complete the piano evaluation requirement.

Live Audition Dates at SFCM:

  • January 22, 2017
  • February 29, 2017

Regional Auditions (North America):

  • Montreal: January 12, 2017 - Schulich School of Music, McGill University
  • Interlochen: January 14, 2017
  • Chicago: January 16, 2017
  • Boston: February 22, 2017 - Boston University
  • New York: February 24, 2017 - NOLA Sound Studio, Manhattan

Regional Auditions (Asia):

  • Seoul: October 16, 2016 - Naeum Art Hall
  • Taipei: October 18, 2016 - The Forum Auditorium
  • Guangzhou: October 21 - 23, 2016 - Xinhai Conservatory
  • Shanghai: October 26-29, 2016 - Tongii University
  • Beijing: October 31 - November 4, 2016 - China Conservatory

Mainland China auditions are in partnership with USA Schools of Music.

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