For Musicians

How to Apply

Applying to the National Music Festival is easy. Just fill out the application form, pay your application fee, and be sure to submit your cover letter, recording and/or any other requirements listed below for your discipline.

The reduced-fee deadline is February 10, 2018. After that time, admission is on a rolling basis until all slots are filled. 


Application Information

  • Applications are evaluated solely on merit.
  • Applications may only be submitted through this website. The Festival will not respond to applications submitted by post.
  • Participants for the entire duration of the Festival will receive full scholarships plus housing. (Apprentices choosing not to participate in the entire Festival may attend for a $2000 tuition fee.)
  • PLEASE DO NOT ASK TO ARRIVE LATE OR TO LEAVE EARLY UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY THE FULL $2,000 TUITION FEE!
  • Participants must arrive in Chestertown in time for the noon orientation meeting on June 2 and remain until the conclusion of the final concert on June 16. Housing is provided through the morning of June 17. (Conductors arrive by May 29, arts administrators arrive May 24 and depart June 20; housing is provided for the duration).
  • Apprentices are responsible for their own transportation and meals. Many local restaurants will have musician-friendly menus available.  [Emmanuel Church is offering free lunches to musicians.]
  • Apprentices must be at least 18 years of age or provide a chaperone.
  • Application fees are $35 ($70 for conductors). Application fees are not refundable. Click here to pay application fees online.
  • Please note that instrumentalists and conductors will be required to submit a recording or video with their application; recordings should be posted to YouTube or Soundcloud for easy listening/viewing by mentors. Video is optional (except for conductors). If you submit audio rather than video, please submit mp3 files only. If you have any questions about recordings or repertoire, please contact the appropriate mentor via his or her email address listed on the Mentor Faculty page of this website, or email info@nationalmusic.us.
  • RETURNING APPLICANTS: Please note that if you have attended the Festival previously and wish to reapply, you do not need to submit recordings. You may submit new recordings if you feel that your playing has changed significantly, but recordings are not required. You do need to fill out the application form and include a resume and cover letter, and you need to pay the appropriate application fee, but recordings and references are not required for returning applicants.

Orchestral Application Requirements (by instrument)

Flute

Two contrasting orchestral excerpts and Mozart, Concerto in G, First Movement: exposition, without accompaniment.

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Oboe

Include a selection of two standard orchestral excerpts of your choice, plus two contrasting solo selections such as movement of a standard concerto or sonata, or a chamber work that showcases the oboe. An etude may be substituted in lieu of any one selections above. Quality is preferred over quantity.

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Clarinet

A standard solo work  [no more than 5 minutes]
Beethoven Symphony No. 6
Brahms, Symphony No. 3
Mendelssohn Midsummer’s Nights Dream
Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnole

Auditionees may also submit recordings on auxiliary instruments.  Please submit two solo excerpts of your choice on Eb and/or Bass clarinet.  Note that those who play an auxiliary instrument will be given preference.

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Bassoon

Three of the following four excerpts – Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4, II, long solo to end; Ravel, Bolero, solo; Mozart, Marriage of Figaro, Overture, measures 1-8 and measures 156-171; Beethoven, Symphony No. 4, IV, fast solo; A solo piece, concerto or sonata movement of applicant’s choice.

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Horn

Solo: 1st movement of either Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 or Mozart Horn Concerti No. 2 or No. 4.

Excerpts: Strauss, “Ein Heldenleben,” Horn 1 – Beginning to measure 17; Shostakovich, “Symphony No. 5,” Mvmt. I, Horn 1 – third measure after Rehearsal No.17 to 1st measure of Rehearsal No. 21; Mendelssohn “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Nocturne, Horn 1 – measures 1 through 34; Wagner, “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” Horn 1-Short Call.

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Trumpet

Solo: Exposition of either the Haydn or Hummel Trumpet Concerto.

Orchestral excerpts: Prelude to “Carmen,” Promenade from “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Offstage Call from Beethoven’s “Leonore Overture No. 2,” Ballerina Solo & Waltz from Stravinsky’s”Petroushka.”

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Trombone

Mozart – Requiem – Tuba mirum – 2nd trombone solo
Berlioz – Hungarian March – 2nd trombone part (beginning 6 measures before rehearsal 4 through the 2nd measure of rehearsal 5)
Ravel – Bolero – 1st trombone solo (3rd measure of rehearsal 10 to rehearsal 11)
Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries (major only)

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Bass Trombone

Bach – Sarabande from Cello Suite No. 5 (no repeats)
Berlioz – Hungarian March (beginning 6 measures before rehearsal 4 through the 2nd measure of rehearsal 5)
Kodaly – Hary Janos Suite, mvt. 4 (beginning in the 5th measure of the poco meno mosso to the fermata)
Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries (2nd major section only)

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Tuba

Wagner – “Die Meistersinger” (letter J to end)
Berlioz – Hungarian March (beginning 6 measures before rehearsal 4 through the 2nd measure of rehearsal 5)
Prokofiev – Symphony No. 5, mvt. 1 (rehearsal 3 to rehearsal 6)
Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries (2nd major section only)

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Percussion

Include three xylophone excerpts, three snare drum excerpts, two glockenspiel excerpts, three timpani excerpts, one Bach marimba solo.

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Piano/Keyboard

Include at least one collaborative work (i.e. chamber music/orchestral).

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Harp

Two representative etudes for your instrument (one fast/one slow) and two brief excerpts that will demonstrate your abilities, OR one recent solo performance.

Please note: The National Music Festival does not have harps available for apprentices to borrow or rent. Harpists must bring a harp to the Festival. Harp apprentices are also asked to bring a car for harp moving, if possible. 

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Violin

First or last movement of a standard concerto including cadenza if applicable, movement of unaccompanied Bach, short piece or etude.

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Viola

Two movements from the Bach Suites (transcribed for viola), a movement of a standard concerto, and two standard orchestra excerpts of contrasting styles.

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Violoncello

One (or two) movements from the Bach Suites for Cello, the first movement of a standard concerto and two standard orchestral excerpts of contrasting styles.

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Double Bass

One or two (i.e. minuets) movements from the Bach Suites for Cello, the first movement of a standard concerto, Beethoven Sym.No.5, 3rd movement (Scherzo & Trio), and choose two of the following excerpts: Mozart Sym. No.40, 1st movement theme, etc. (meas.114-138), Brahms Sym.No.1 or No.2 letter E, or Strauss Ein Heldenleben, No. 9.

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Non-Orchestra Program Application Requirements

Conducting Institute

In addition to the completed application, a high-quality video recording of a recent working rehearsal (15-minute maximum, including some spoken direction) and performance (15-minute maximum) viewed from a close, front-view perspective. Video file must be accompanied with your name, contact information, and repertoire index. Links to YouTube videos are preferred. A full orchestra is not required; a small ensemble will suffice. Works on the video should include a variety of styles.  The candidate should include a short video in which s/he introduces her/himself.

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Arts Administration

You may, optionally, submit up to three work samples, such as press releases, grant applications, etc.

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Concert Production

Application form (with attachments) only. There is no application fee for concert production apprenticeships.

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Music Library

Application form (with attachments) only.

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Piano Repair

Application form (with attachments) only.

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Recording Engineering

Application form (with attachments) and sample recordings.

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