For Musicians

How to Apply

Applying to the National Music Festival is easy! Just fill out the brief application form, upload your resume, pay your application fee, and have your recommendation letter(s) sent to info@nationalmusic.us. Be sure to read the guidelines below before applying, especially the specific requirements listed below for your instrument/discipline.

That National Music Festival will take place from June 4-17, 2023, with musicians arriving on June 3 or 4 (by noon). The reduced fee application deadline has passed. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all slots are filled.

2023 Festival application information will be available very soon. Please check back.

To Apply:

  • APPLICATION FORM: Click here to access the application form. Please be sure to have your resume available as a PDF document as you will need to upload it.
  • APPLICATION FEE: $40 until February 10, 2022; $65 after February 10, 2022. 
  • VIDEO RECORDINGS: Please submit a video recording with your application; recordings should be posted to YouTube for easy listening/viewing by mentors.  If you have any questions about submitting a video or repertoire, please email info@nationalmusic.us.
  • RECOMMENDATIONS: Each applicant must have one letter of recommendation submitted directly to info@nationalmusic.us no more than one week after submitting their application.
  • RETURNING APPLICANTS: Please note that if you have attended the Festival previously and wish to reapply, you do not need to submit recordings or a letter of recommendation. You may submit new video recordings if you feel that your playing has changed significantly, but they are not required. You do need to fill out the application form and pay the appropriate application fee.

Important Notes: 

  • All musicians attending the the 2022 Festival are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Applications are evaluated solely on merit.
  • Applications may only be submitted through the online form. The Festival will not respond to applications submitted by post.
  • Participants for the entire duration of the Festival will receive full scholarships plus housing.
  • Participants must arrive in Chestertown in time for the noon orientation meeting on June 4 and remain until the conclusion of the final concert on June 18, 2022. Housing is provided from June 3rd through the morning of June 19. (Conductors arrive by May 31, 2022, arts administrators arrive on or around May 25 and depart on or around 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. 
  • Apprentices must be at least 18 years of age or provide a chaperone.

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

-Two contrasting solo works of the applicant’s choice. Please note: A single movement of a concerto, sonata, or concert piece may suffice as a complete work.
-Three contrasting standard excerpts that demonstrate differing musical, and instrumental skills.
Oboe applicants may submit recordings on english horn in addition to oboe requirements (optional).

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Clarinet

Three contrasting orchestral excerpts and Mozart Concerto, First Movement: exposition, without accompaniment.

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

Video recordings only.

Solo work:

Honegger, Intrada, beginning to Allegro OR

Haydn, Trumpet Concerto, opening exposition

Orchestral Excerpts:

Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, Opening Promenade

Mahler, Symphony No. 5, opening solo

Stravinsky, Petrushka, Ballerina’s Dance, pick-up to mm. 135-139

Respighi, Pines of Rome, offstage solo

Provide one continuous, unedited video. No separate tracks, do not stop and start the camera between selections.

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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

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)
Schuman – Symphony 3, Rhenish, movt. 4 “Feierlich” (beginning to downbeat of measure 18)
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.

**Please note: Percussion applicants are required to submit a video of them playing their excerpts.**

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Collaborative Piano

Include:
•  1 Solo Work less than 5 minutes (may be a movement from a sonata, a character piece, an etude)
•  2 Art Songs* with singer OR 2 movements* of a chamber work with instrument(s)
*Select works by different composers in contrasting styles, tempi, etc.

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Harp

Two representative etudes (one fast/one slow) OR two contrasting pieces AND two orchestral excerpts.

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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Guitar

Video Recording:
A composition (sonata or suite of movements) from the first half of the 19th century (ie. Sor, Giuliani, Legnani, Diabelli, Coste, Mertz, Regondi, etc.), maximum 6 minutes
A composition of the 20th century, maximum length, 6 minutes.

The focus of the guitar course will be chamber music, focusing on the repertoire for guitar duos, trios and quartets and combinations with orchestral instruments. For this, good sightreading is very important. There shall be only three apprentice vacancies.

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Violin

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

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Viola

One movement of solo Bach
One movement from a standard concerto or sonata

Excerpts (3 total):
Required: Stravinsky Firebird (1910): Reh. 28-30

One excerpt from Group 1, one excerpt from Group 2:

Group 1 (Pick 1):
Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture: Reh. 1-4
Beethoven Symphony No. 4, Mvt. 2: mm. 1-10, 49-59, 98-106
Brahms Haydn Variations: Variation VII
Bruckner Symphony 4, Mvt. 2: mm. 51-83
Shostakovich Symphony 5, Mvt. 1: Reh. 15-17

Group 2 (Pick 1):
Brahms Haydn Variations: Variation V
Mendelssohn Scherzo: Reh. C to D
Mozart Marriage of Figaro Overture: mm. 139-171
Mozart Symphony 35, Mvt. IV: mm. 134-E
Ravel Daphnis et Chloe Suite 2: Reh. 212-216
Strauss Don Juan: Opening to C
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, Mvt I: mm. 19-62

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Violoncello

Two movements of solo Bach, and one additional substantial example of your playing: EITHER a movement of a concerto, a work for cello & piano (a short work or movement of a sonata), OR a short solo contemporary piece. Optionally, you may include a movement of chamber music (in addition to solo Bach and one other work.

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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. Links to YouTube videos are preferred. A full orchestra is not required; a small ensemble will suffice. Repertoire on the video should include a variety of styles.  The candidate should also 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. If you would like to submit work samples, please email them to info@nationalmusic.us after submitting your application. There is no application fee for arts administration apprenticeships.

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Music Library

Application form and resume only.

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Recording Engineering

Application form, resume, and sample recordings.

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NewBassoon Workshop

The 2022 NewBassoon Workshop has been cancelled.

Announcing the next NewBassoon Workshop, June 4-11, 2022 in Chestertown, MD, held in conjunction with the National Music Festival. Each summer, leading American bassoon artists and teachers, Michael Harley, Lynn Hileman, Saxton Rose, and Rachael Elliott, all members of the pioneering bassoon collective Dark in the Song, present a week-long workshop on contemporary bassoon literature, performance techniques, and pedagogy. Designed for college students and beyond, participants work closely with the faculty and a new guest each year in a variety of settings, including master classes, private lessons, and ensemble coachings. Highlights include: faculty and student performances, experiential workshops, and alternating bi-annual Performance and Composition competitions.

How to Apply: Applicants should email a resume and short statement of interest to Michael Harley, NewBassoon Workshop Director, mharley@mozart.sc.edu, on or before May 1, 2022. Accepted Workshop Fellows will be sent registration and payment information.

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