Early Music Performance

Master of Arts (MA) or Graduate Certificate (GCRT)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Applicants to Early Music must submit a recording to be pre-screened by the faculty. The results of this pre-screen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles. It is expected that applicants will perform a live audition on the USC campus on the published audition date. However, in some cases it may be possible to submit a recording in lieu of performing a live audition.

Note: Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall SlideRoom portal.” Any applicant that does not submit a pre-screen recording by the December 1 deadline may be removed from consideration.

For instructions on how to access the SlideRoom portal to submit your recording click HERE

Prescreen Audition Requirements

  • Two selections, in contrasting styles, from the standard solo repertoire (with preference for music composed before 1750)
  • Audio or video recordings accepted

Live Audition Requirements

Applicants must prepare three works in differing styles or from different periods (preferably before 1800) that illustrate their technical and musical abilities and their personal interests. All applicants may be asked to participate in a short coaching session and may be asked to sight read music. Keyboardists may also be asked to realize a passage of figured bass.

An accompanist is not required at the audition. It is also not guaranteed that an accompanist will be provided at the audition. If you will need an accompanist, please contact Adam Gilbert, Director of Early Music, at adam.gilbert@usc.edu. You may also call the Early Music Office at 213-821-6052. Finding an accompanist is only possible with sufficient prior notice, so please contact Adam Gilbert early in your audition preparation process. The applicants wishing to utilize an accompanist must provide copies of their music and arrange for any extra rehearsal time if needed. While there is no cost for accompaniment at the audition itself, the accompanist must be paid for any rehearsal time.

If you have questions regarding the application or audition process, please contact Kit Bellamy, Associate Director of Admission for further information. Please use the following contact information: keb@usc.edu. (213) 821-1245.

Important Notes

  • DMA applicants are required to submit a “Personal Introductory Video” as part of their SlideRoom Portfolio. For detailed instructions click here.
  • One or two representative historical or analytical term papers must be submitted through the Thornton SlideRoom portal. These should be papers written for assignments in music history classes.
  • All applicants to the MA and DMA in Early Music Performance are required to submit 3 Letters of Recommendation via the SlideRoom portal. For DMA applicants, one of these letters must be from a professor who has assessed a substantial research or analysis paper that the applicant has written.
  • GRE scores are required for both the MA in Early Music and the DMA in Early Music. See Test Score Guidelines page for details.