For Musicians

How to Apply

That National Music Festival will take place from June 4-17, 2023, with musicians arriving on June 2 (evening) or 3 (morning). All applications must be submitted through Acceptd:  Please see below for more information.

We are no longer accepting applications for 2023 in the following areas: flute, oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, percussion, guitar, cello, double bass, conducting, music library, recording engineering. We are still accepting applications for: clarinet, collaborative piano, violin, viola, arts administration.

To Apply:

  • All applications must be submitted through Acceptd:
  • Application Fees and Deadlines are are follows for all disciplines except conducting:
    • $45 through December 31, 2022
    • $70 from January 1, 2023 through February 10, 2023
    • $95 from February 11, 2023 until all spots have been filled
  • Application Fees and Deadlines are are follows for conducting applicants:
    • $70 through December 31, 2022
    • $95 from January 1, 2023 through February 10, 2023
    • $120 from February 11, 2023 until all spots have been filled
  • Application fees are submitted through Acceptd when you submit your application.
  • Most applicants must submit a video recording with your application. Videos are to be uploaded to your application in Acceptd; you may upload to four videos, unless otherwise noted. Please see below for the specific requirements for your instrument.  
  • If you have not attended NMF previously, you will need to provide the name and email address of a recommender. This information is to be entered into your application form in Acceptd; your recommender will receive an email with a link to upload their letter of recommendation. If you have attended NMF previously, no recommendation is required.

Important Notes: 

  • For the health and safety of our musicians, staff, and community, NMF has followed strict protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic, including requiring all personnel to be vaccinated for our 2022 season. We will determine and share any Covid-19 protocols for the 2023 season as we get closer to the time.
  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age by June 2, 2023. There is no upper age limit. 
  • Applications are evaluated solely on merit.
  • Participants for the entire duration of the Festival will receive full scholarships plus housing. Scholarships are contingent upon full participation.
  • Participants must arrive in Chestertown either the evening of June 2 or the morning of June 3, and remain until the conclusion of the final concert on June 17, 2023. Housing is provided from the evening of June 2 through the morning of June 18. (Conductors arrive on May 31 and depart on June 18; arts administrators arrive on May 30 and depart on or around June 19; housing is provided for the duration).
  • Apprentices are responsible for their own transportation and meals. Many local restaurants will have musician-friendly menus available. A local church may offer free lunches on weekdays, but this is not yet confirmed.
  • NMF welcomes international students! Please be aware that we are not able to provide visa advice. 

Orchestral Application Requirements (by instrument)


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

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-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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

•  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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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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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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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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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. 5, 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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Cellists must prepare a movement from a solo or accompanied piece of their choosing (submissions may be longer than this, but the committee will listen to up to the first 5 minutes of solo repertoire) along with the attached excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. You can download a PDF of the excerpts here:

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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.

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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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