Apply

Thank you for your interest in applying to the Curtis Institute of Music. Admission is a two-step process: applying and auditioning. Please check the requirements below needed to complete the online application. It is understood and agreed that the submission of an application does not obligate the Curtis Institute of Music to provide an audition.

Application Requirements 

Prospective students apply to Curtis through the Acceptd platform. You will be asked to create a username and password, which will allow you to save your application before submission. After completing and submitting your application, you will be able to download and view it. The application, all required documents, and fees must be submitted within the Acceptd.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure the required documents are submitted in English. The official seal and signature of the translator must appear on any translated document.

  • Addresses for your parents or guardians and their employers
  • Addresses and dates of study with private teachers
  • Addresses and dates of study at high school and/or previous college
  • A list of scholarships, awards, etc., received and their amounts
  • A response to two of four short essay questions
  • Live audition program (composer and title), in compliance with each department's audition requirements
  • For voice and opera applicants: a description of professional experience, if any, including roles and dates performed, names of performing organizations, nonoperatic musical activities, and dramatic training and experience.
  • A list of composers and works, including technical studies, that you have studied intensively and consider a part of your repertoire
  • An uploadable copy of your most recent academic transcript
  • At least one uploadable copy of a concert or recital program in which you have participated (featuring your name)
  • The online written consent of the present private teacher
  • Online confidential statements from two musicians, excluding relatives and the present private teacher, who are qualified to judge the applicant's personal and musical talents
  • The most current official transcript of high school and/or college
  • Bachelor of Music applicants: Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I) scores
  • Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, Professional Studies Certificate, and Diploma in Opera applicants who are not native speakers of English: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the SAT I scores
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $150 U.S. (payment required to complete online form)

Applicants under the age of eighteen must have the application cosigned by a parent or guardian.

All applicants in bassoon, clarinet, composition, conducting, double bass, flute, piano, trombone, trumpet, tuba, violin, voice, and opera are required to submit screening materials online in order to be considered for an invitation to audition in person. Applicants will be notified of decisions regarding live auditions by mid-January.

Bassoon

Applicants must submit a video recording containing the following:

  • The first movement of one of the following concertos: Mozart, Weber or Hummel
  • One etude of the applicant's choice
  • One standard orchestral excerpt of the applicant's choice

Clarinet

  • The exposition of the first movement of the Mozart concerto (with piano accompaniment)
  • The following orchestral excerpts:
    • Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream (beginning to letter A, 6th bar of letter D to 19 bars after letter E)
    • Rimsky-Korsakov, Capriccio Espagnol, movement 1 (letter A to letter B, letter C for 21 bars)
    • Brahms, Symphony #3, movement 1 (bars 26-46), movement 2 (beginning for 22 bars)

Composition

Applicants may submit scores and accompanying recordings for up to three compositions. Submissions of orchestral and large-ensemble compositions are encouraged but are not required.

Conducting

Applicants must submit a high-quality audio-visual recording by December 18,2020 as follows:

  • Include three to four excerpts showing various musical styles from standard orchestral, operatic, and contemporary works. The excerpts can be derived from performances or rehearsals, and the entire recording should not exceed 20 minutes in length.
  • The recording must be representative of the applicant’s current work.
  • The applicant must be clearly visible.

Double Bass

Applicants should prepare a five- to ten-minute video recording of a work (or works) that best exhibits their skills. The choice should be similar to, but not limited to, the full Double Bass audition repertoire. It can be one or multiple takes.

Flute

Applicants should prepare a video recording of (at least) one movement from each of three contrasting pieces. Works with piano (or other instrumental) accompaniment should be performed with piano accompaniment.

Piano

Applicants should prepare video recordings (keyboard in view) of the following. Movements may be individual recordings, but each movement should be one uninterrupted recording.

  • A complete work of J. S. Bach
  • One of the sonatas listed below (complete and by memory):
    • Any Mozart sonata (except K. 545)
    • Any Beethoven sonata (except Op. 49)
    • Any of these five Haydn sonatas:
      • A-flat major, Hob. XVI:46, L. 31
      • C minor, Hob. XVI:20, L. 33
      • E-flat major, Hob. XVI:49, L. 59
      • C-major, Hob. XVI:50, L. 60
      • E-flat major, Hob. XVI:52, L. 62
  • One slow and one fast selection from the works of Chopin for solo piano (no works of Chopin for piano and orchestra will be acceptable)

Trombone

Applicants should prepare video recordings (unaccompanied) of the following. Each work should be one uninterrupted recording.

  • One movement from a concerto, sonata, or other substantial solo work
  • One technical étude by Kopprasch, Tyrell, or Blazhevich
  • One lyrical étude by Bordogni, Rochut, or the equivalent
  • A least three orchestral excerpts of contrasting style

Trumpet

Applicants should prepare a video recording (accompaniment suggested but not required) between 10 and 15 minutes in length containing the following:

  • One solo work (not for piccolo trumpet), either a movement of a standard concerto or sonata (not to exceed 8 minutes) or a single movement solo work (not to exceed 8 minutes). Longer works, or individual movements recorded with cuts are acceptable.
  • Three contrasting standard orchestral excerpts (piano accompaniment is suggested but not required)

Tuba

Applicants should prepare video recordings (unaccompanied) of the following. Each work may be recorded separately.

  • An etude by Bordogni, Blazhevich, or Snedecor, performed on contrabass tuba
  • The 1st movement of the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto, from the beginning though the downbeat of rehearsal 3, and the cadenza to the end of the movement, recorded as one take. Any published version of the cadenza is acceptable.
  • Wagner, Die Meistersinger Overture, first 8 measures, and rehearsal J through rehearsal L
  • Wagner, Ride of the Walkure (standard B-major excerpt)

Violin

Applicants should submit a video (recorded in 2019) of the following. Movements may be individual recordings, but each movement should be one uninterrupted recording; please include at least one slow tempo movement:

  • One movement from a Mozart concerto
  • One movement from another standard-repertoire concerto
  • Two movements from a Bach solo sonata or partita
  • A Paganini caprice

Voice/Opera

Applicants should prepare a video recording of three repertoire selections that show contrast in musical styles and tempos: songs or opera arias for undergraduate program applicants and only opera arias for the graduate program. The recording for screening should include accompaniment. Please make certain the recording is of good quality, as the granting of a live audition will depend upon this. 

  • Online application fee $150 
  • Screening fee $100  (bassoon, clarinet, composition, conducting, double bass, flute, piano, trombone, trumpet, tuba, violin, voice, and opera) If the applicant is invited for a live audition the screening fee will apply as credit towards the $150 audition fee due by the department's audition date.
  • Audition fee $150  
  • Materials submitted after this date incur an additional $75 late fee

All fees are payable via the Acceptd platform. This fee must be paid before the applicant is permitted to audition. Fees are payable in U.S. dollars

Students and parents may find it useful to review the following resources: Student Fees, Estimated Student Budget, and Net Price Calculator

 

 

Key Dates

Audition dates vary by department and are scheduled based on the availability of the faculty. Please check the Audition page for specific dates and information on audition procedures. 

Application dates are as follows: 

  • October: Applications available
  • December 16: Applications due for consideration for fall. An additional $75 late fee will be assessed on applications submitted after this date. 
  • January: Students selected for live auditions will be notified during this month
  • February and March: Auditions held at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia 
  • April 1: Notification of admission and financial aid status provided 
  • May 1: Applicant decision due 
  • June 1: Standardized test results due. Accepted candidates are automatically placed into non-degree programs until all official test scores are received.

Programs

Undergraduate students at Curtis are enrolled in either the Diploma or Bachelor of Music programs. Upon acceptance to Curtis, all undergraduate students are automatically placed into the non-degree undergraduate Diploma program. Students who wish to enter the Bachelor of Music program must meet the program’s entrance requirements by submitting the most current official transcript of high school and (if applicable) college academic work, as well as standardized test results.

View all programs of study for more information. 

Program Requirements

All accepted undergraduate students are automatically placed into the non-degree undergraduate Diploma program. Entrance to the Bachelor of Music program at Curtis is determined on an individual basis. The Committee on Academic Standing reviews each student's entire application and does not offer admission based solely on test scores.

The following documents are required for application for admission to the Bachelor's degree program:

  • A complete official high school or, if applicable, college transcript in English, with grades and graduation date
  • Official scores for the SAT
  • Official scores for the TOEFL exam (for non-native speakers of English)

Note: Curtis’s College Board Code is 2100

These documents will be reviewed as the Committee considers individual applicants. Strong academic performance in high school is highly valued. For students transferring into Curtis from another academic institution, evidence of strong academic performance will also be required.

Additional Information Regarding Standardized Tests:

The Bachelor of Music degree requires:  

  • A recognized high school diploma 
  • An SAT score of 500 in the Critical Reasoning section 

Curtis also reviews the score of the SAT written exam for placement. Math scores or other SAT advanced tests are not required. 

For non-native English speakers, Curtis requires the SAT and one of the following TOEFL scores: 

  • The TOEFL written score minimum of 550, or 
  • 213 on the computer-based TOEFL test, or 
  • A post-2005 Internet TOEFL iBT of 79-80 

Curtis does not accept the IELTS test at this time 

 

Prerequisite: Bachelor of Music degree or equivalent

Native speakers of English: Standardized tests are not required.

Non-native speakers of English: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • TOEFL iBT: 79–80

Native speakers of English: Standardized tests are not required.

Non-native speakers of English: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)*

  • TOEFL iBT: 79–80

*The TOEFL scores for students entering the Diploma program will be used for placement purposes only

Prerequisite: Bachelor of Music degree or equivalent 

Native speakers of English: Standardized tests are not required. 

Non-native speakers of English: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • TOEFL iBT: 79–80

Curtis no longer accepts flute applicants for the Post-Baccalaureate program.

Native speakers of English: Standardized tests are not required.

Non-native speakers of English: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • TOEFL iBT: 79–80

Standardized tests, such as Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), may be requested for placement purposes.

Application FAQ

Admission to Curtis is based solely on musical promise. If students plan to apply to the Bachelor of Music degree program, they should present the materials described in the Program Requirement / Bachelor of Music description

 

As described in Program Requirements students interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree should present official SAT scores as one of many measures of academic readiness. The SAT is not required to enter to Master of MusicPost-Baccalaureate DiplomaDiploma, or Professional Studies Certificate in Opera.   

Please Note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Curtis will waive the necessity of presenting SAT test scores for enrollment in Bachelor’s level classes for the 2021-2022 Academic Year.  

 

Note: The Curtis faculty may update these policies. Please check the website for updates. 

There is a $150 nonrefundable application fee. For major departments that require prescreening, there is an additional $100 feeAll fees are payable via the Acceptd platform. Please review the Curtis website to learn more about which major departments require prescreening.  

The wait list depends on the major department and the year. Someone from the admissions team will contact you if you are placed on a wait list.   

Yes, this is possible. Students who want to double-major must audition and gain admission separately for each major instrument department.  

All applicants must audition in person. Video recordings will not be considered in place of a live audition, except as noted in screened departments. Applicants to the composition department have original compositions examined by the department and a finalists interview in Philadelphia.

Curtis sets no minimum or maximum age for the admission of exceptional students to most of its programs. Students younger than college age are considered candidates for the Curtis Diploma. These students pursue their musical studies at Curtis and their college-preparatory academic studies at an accredited public or private middle or high school of their choosing. They may opt to transition to the Bachelor of Music program when they reach college age. Students who already have a bachelors degreewhen they enter Curtis may pursue graduate-level work toward a post-baccalaureate Diploma or a Master of Music in Opera. 

The acceptance rate at Curtis varies from year to year and across programs. Overall, it has remained steady at about 4 percent. Do not let this discourage you. Many current students didnt believe they could be accepted but auditioned anyway. They are now thriving at Curtis. 

The most important factor is artistic promise. Though showing technical proficiency in the audition is a requirement, the strongest candidates for admission demonstrate the potential to develop into exceptional artists.  

A typical Curtis student shows outstanding technique and musicality, along with openness to critiques and an eagerness to learn. A collegial atmosphere contributes to Curtiss nurturing environment. Students focus on their craft and positively engage with and learn from their peers, faculty, and the world around them.  

Applicants may be interested in visiting Curtis's YouTube channel and Instagram profile for an inside look at student life at Curtis.  

Please contact the admissions team with any questions about applying, auditioning, or touring the campus.  

Due to Covid-19, in-person tours of the campus are not availableCurtis is creating virtual tours and information sessions for applicants and parents. Some Curtis on Tour virtual events may be open to prospects, applicants, and parents. Applicants, prospects, and parents may schedule a conversation with a Curtis student.

Please check the website regularly as details for these opportunities develop. Contact the admissions team for more information.

In some cases, applicants to Curtis can take informational lessons with Curtis faculty (i.e., trial lessons). The availability of informational lessons varies by faculty and major department. Candidates are encouraged to learn more about Curtis through all avenues, including tours, conversations with current students, the Curtis website, Curtis YouTube channel, and Instagram page. Candidates may also be interested in taking an informational lesson with a Curtis alumnus.  

Yes, Curtis admits transfer students. Applicants should refer to the Curtis website for specific program requirements and may contact a member of the admissions team for further questions.  

Policies and Reports

Curtis Institute of Music is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations, including admission, employment, service, and educational programs. Curtis complies with all laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, or gender identity. Curtis is an equal-opportunity employer.

The safety, security and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors at the Curtis Institute of Music are of paramount importance. Read our Annual Security and Fire Safety Report to see safety statistics from 2016, 2017 and 2018.