Brass

The Curtis brass department integrates new students into the full musical life of the school from the moment they arrive.

Working with distinguished artist-faculty members, brass players study orchestral, solo, and concerto repertoire in private lessons, play in brass quintets and other chamber ensembles, perform in a brass choir with all brass students, and play in weekly studio classes, in addition to the many rehearsals and concerts of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Because of the small number of students enrolled at Curtis each year, each brass student receives constant playing opportunities and assignments.

Curtis aims to educate and train musicians for 21st-century careers as performers on the highest professional level, through a unique “learn by doing” approach. Students can expect to perform often on the Student Recital Series and in other school-sponsored recitals from the beginning of their Curtis careers.

Applicants who are admitted enter either the Bachelor of Music program or the diploma program. Those who already hold bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or other certificates or diplomas are welcome to apply.

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How to Apply

Curriculum

Applicants who are admitted enter either the Bachelor of Music program or the diploma program. Those who already hold bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or other certificates or diplomas are welcome to apply.

Audition Requirements

In addition to fulfilling the specific requirements below, applicants should possess physical aptitude for the chosen instrument, a good ear, a sense of rhythm, and the ability to read at sight.

  • Trumpet (updated 10/22/21)

    Applicants must submit a screening video with the application to be considered for the live auditions. Applicants will be notified in January of their live audition status.

    Prescreening

    Applicants should prepare a video recording between 10–15 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.

    Live Audition (if advanced)

    Undergraduate applicants are expected to prepare:

    • Two contrasting études from Bousquet, Brandt, Charlier, or equivalent
    • Adolphus Hailstork Variations for Trumpet (measure 75 to the end)
    • One movement of a sonata (Hindemith, Kennan, or equivalent) or a complete single movement work from the standard repertoire (Enescu, Bozza, or equivalent)
    • One complete concerto: Haydn, Hummel, Arutunian, or equivalent
    • 3–5 contrasting standard orchestral excerpts

    Applicants must display at least rudimentary knowledge of transposition. Sight reading may be asked.

    Artist Diploma and Master of Music applicants are expected to prepare:

    • Two contrasting études from Charlier, Bitsch, or equivalent
    • Adolphus Hailstork Variations for Trumpet (complete)
    • Arthur Honegger Intrada
    • One complete concerto: Haydn, Hummel, Tomasi, Jolivet, or equivalent
    • 5 contrasting standard orchestral excerpts, including one for piccolo trumpet

    Sight reading may be asked.

  • Horn (updated 9/22/21)


    Prescreening
     

    Applicants must submit a prescreening video with the application to be considered for the live auditions. Applicants will be notified in January of their live audition status. Please record the following repertoire in one continuous take, no editing.

    • First movement, Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1
    • Fourth horn solo from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9
    • Short call from Wagner’s Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt

    Live Audition (if advanced)

    Applicants will demonstrate familiarity with all major and minor scales and arpeggios. In addition, applicants will play:

    • One movement of a concerto or sonata
    • One étude by Kopprasch and one by Gallay
    • The following orchestral excerpts:
      • The last movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1
      • The second horn part from the trio of the third movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3
      • The second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5
      • R. Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel
      • Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante defunte
      • The short call from Wagner’s Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt
      • The first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7
      • The third movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 3
  • Trombone

    Auditions will be held for tenor trombone and/or bass trombone, depending on the opening. Applicants must submit a screening video with the application to be considered for the live auditions. Applicants will be notified in January of their live audition status.

    Tenor Trombone Prescreening

    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.
    • At least three orchestral excerpts of contrasting style.

    Live Audition (if advanced Bass and Tenor Trombone)

    Applicants will play:

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

    Applicants may be asked to play all major and minor scales and to read at sight in alto, tenor, and bass clefs.

  • (updated 9/14/21)

    Prescreening

    Applicants should prepare video recordings (unaccompanied) of the following.

    Each selection may be recorded separately. Adjustments to EQ and reverb are allowed, but there may not be any additional editing or splicing within each selection. Audio may be recorded separately, and synced with video.

    Create a separate file for each selection, and label each clearly with the last name of the applicant and the name of the selection.

    Applicants are encouraged to use the best recording equipment available to them, and to carefully select the best microphone placement and recording level to reduce distortion. Devices such as a Zoom Handy Recorder will yield good results, and if using a phone, laptop, or tablet, an external USB microphone or microphone attachment can greatly improve the audio. If you do not own or have access to a quality recording device, consider checking with a local or school library, band director, or teacher about borrowing one. Experiment with the recording process in advance, so that your recordings represent you as well as possible.

    • Snedecor, Low Etudes for Tuba, #4
    • Vaughan Williams, Tuba Concerto, first movement including cadenza, without accompaniment
    • Wagner, Die Meistersinger Overture, measures 1–8; rehearsal J to rehearsal L
    • Wagner, Ride of the Walküre, standard B-major excerpt
    • Prokofiev, Symphony No. 5, first movement, rehearsal 3 to rehearsal 6

    Live Audition (if advanced)

    • Snedecor, Low Etudes for Tuba, #4
    • J.S. Bach, Bouree 1 and 2 from Cello Suite #3, played 8ba (one octave lower than written), without repeats or da Capo
    • Vaughan Williams, Tuba Concerto, first and second movements, without accompaniment
    • Wagner, Die Meistersinger Overture, measures 1–8; rehearsal J to rehearsal L
    • Wagner, Ride of the Walküre, standard B-major excerpt
    • Prokofiev, Symphony No. 5, first movement, rehearsal 3 to rehearsal 6
    • Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique, Tuba 1, complete
    • Mahler, Symphony No. 1, third movement solo (until rehearsal 4)

    Sight reading may be required. It is highly recommended, but not required, that the applicant be proficient on both bass and contrabass tubas.