College Auditions Repertoire

April 15, 2020, 9:59 PM · Hi all,

I was wondering if the following pieces will be competitive in an undergraduate audition to top tier conservatories like Oberlin, NEC and SFCM:
1. Wieniawski Violin Concerto No. 2 (1st or 3rd movt)
2. Bach Violin Sonata No. 2 (3rd and 4th movt)
3. Paganini Caprice No. 9
4. Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3 (1st movt)

Replies (8)

April 15, 2020, 10:24 PM · I'm no expert in this stuff, but from what I've seen on this site in the past, I'm guessing the answer is "Yes if it's played well."
April 15, 2020, 10:28 PM · Yes if it's played well.


April 15, 2020, 11:00 PM · I know of a cellist who got into Eastman with kabalevsky so really the pieces are simply vehicles for understanding a quality of playing. If Heifetz showed up playing kabalevsky concerto he would still get into all the schools.
April 15, 2020, 11:27 PM · @Mark isn't the Kabalevsky cello concerto more difficult than the violin concerto?
April 16, 2020, 8:16 AM · @Mary you mentioned in an earlier thread that partita 3 makes the OP's application less competitive since most people should be playing at least the adagio and fugue from Sonata no. 1. Does the same apply to the above 2 movts from Sonata No. 2?
April 16, 2020, 8:34 AM · I’m not sure. I think the third and fourth movements of the second Sonata are somewhat more difficult than the Loure and Gavotte en Rondeau but they’re not as hard as even the easiest adagio and fugue. That’s a question for your teacher, and maybe also for current students at the schools you wish to audition for.
April 16, 2020, 9:15 AM · The pat answer you are going to get is of course if they are played well. But putting that aside, if you play this rep well, and someone else plays (equally well) Tchaikovsky concerto and a Bach fugue, guess who is going to get the spot?

If this is your max level of playing, I think you are borderline competitive for most of the schools listed -- though the kids I know going to NEC right now are at a significantly higher level.

You are best off playing easier rep well than harder rep poorly, so I wouldn't go beyond what you are able to play.

If you play any of the Bach Sonatas, I would play the first and second movements (prelude and fugue). The g minor is the easiest -- I would choose that over anything from the E major Partita or the "easy" movements of Sonata 2.

Paganini 9 is a good choice -- much better than 16 in my opinion. Other "easier" ones that sound good include 13, 14, 20, or 22. Don't play 24.

April 16, 2020, 9:27 AM · My son just went through the audition process.

His repertoire was:
Brahms Violin Concerto (first movement)
Pagaini #8 and #20
Bach Sonata #2 (mostly last two movements)
Beethoven Sonata #7 (first movement)
Ravel Tzigane
Schoenfeld's Samba from the Four Souvenirs.

I think your repertoire would definitely be competitive considering the pieces we heard at the six auditions he took.

Best advice we received was to play your repertoire many, many times in front of anyone who will listen. Use the summer to perfect the pieces and record over a long period of time. Don't try to record prescreens in one or two weekends. I hope this is helpful.

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