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Application Details

Ready to apply? Follow the steps outlined below to submit your application materials.

How to Apply

The privilege of participating in the Honors Ensembles is offered to talented high school students identified from an international pool of applicants. To be considered, you must be in US grades 9-12 (or equivalent international study level) during the 2023-2024 school year and submit a complete electronic application, in which all required information—as well as all supplemental files (audition recording, etc.)—is submitted online.

Planning on applying?
Rolling Admissions opportunities may be available for select parts, click here to learn more about Rolling Admissions, or email The Rolling Admissions process offers performers who have missed the regular application deadline, the opportunity to join the Series waitlist, if available.

How and When to Submit Your Materials

Please submit all application materials as soon as possible in order to ensure a timely review of your application. Each application component must be submitted individually using the links in the appropriate section below.



Required Application Materials

All applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Online Enrollment
  2. Teacher Reference Form
  3. Performing Biography
  4. Audition Recording

All required components must be received on or before the application deadline for an application to be considered by our Selection Board.

Step 1: Complete Online Enrollment

If you received a Student ID with your invitation materials, please include it when you start the enrollment process.

Please note: while the regular application deadline has passed. Rolling Admissions opportunities may be available for select parts; please visit the Rolling Admissions page or email for additional details.

Please note: If you aren't selected as a Finalist, all but the $20 deposit fee for each session you applied to will be refunded. If you start the application process but don't submit the required materials by the deadline, or if you withdraw for any reason, your deposit will not be refunded.

Once you've completed online enrollment and submitted your application deposit, you'll gain access to your student portal, where you can submit your Teacher Reference, Performing Biography, and Audition Recording(s).

Step 2: Provide a Teacher Reference

All applicants are asked to provide the contact information for a music teacher who can answer questions about your application. While most questions can and will be directed toward the applicant directly, certain questions (such as verifying information in your application portfolio) may be asked of your teacher reference.

If you've already received a nomination, please confirm the contact information for the teacher who nominated you. Otherwise, your teacher reference can be any music professional—a schoolteacher, private instructor, etc.—who is familiar with your abilities.

Step 3: Complete the Performing Biography Form

Provide more information about yourself and your musical background by completing the brief Performing Biography Form in your student portal. An overview of the questions asked is included below to assist as you get ready to apply:

  • Do you take private lessons? If so, for how long and with whom?
  • Voice part(s) and/or instrument(s) you sing/play proficiently
  • Please list any SELECTIVE performance groups of which you are/have been a member (and when).
  • Please list any other performance groups of which you are/have been a member (and when).
  • Please list any honors/awards/recognitions (musically or otherwise) you've received that you feel are relevant to your selection for the Series.
  • Please list significant solo or ensemble pieces you've performed or learned.
  • Why would you like to be a part of the Honors Performance Series? Please respond in 250 words or less.

At the end of the Performing Biography, applicants are also given the opportunity to provide any additional information they feel is relevant to their application.

We recommend preparing your responses in advance and pasting them into the Performing Biography Form when you are ready to submit to prevent form time-out errors. 

Step 4: Submit an Audio Recording

Applicants will be evaluated on their ability to demonstrate their potential in the following areas: tone quality, intonation, rhythm, technique, interpretation and musicianship, and diction/bowing/articulation (as applicable). Each applicant is required to submit an audition recording using the specific guidelines posted below for vocalists and instrumentalists.

Audition recordings must be submitted by uploading a digital file with the application.  *Please review the following requirements before completing and submitting your recording.*

  • Recordings should total between 3-5 minutes for each instrument/voice part for which you are auditioning and may consist of one or multiple recordings (except percussionists – see below).
  • The audition upload form accepts up to three recordings per part on which you are applying, different pieces may be submitted as separate recordings.
  • Begin each piece by introducing yourself, tell us the instrument/voice part for which you are auditioning, and the piece that you'll be playing—for example: “My name is John Smith, and the following is the audition etude for snare drum.”
  • When naming the file, please include your first and last name as well as the instrument or voice part for which you're auditioning.
  • Recordings should be audio-only (no videos) and submitted in MP3 or M4A format only.
    • Please note: We'll do our best to notify students if we encounter a problem with an audition recording, but the Selection Board will not be able to review submissions not submitted in the required format.
  • Recordings may not be engineered or enhanced in any manner.
  • You may audition on more than one instrument and as both an instrumentalist and a vocalist. In either case, you'll need to submit a separate recording for each instrument/voice part on which you wish to apply.

Please note: The audition upload form can be submitted only once per applicant. If you are applying on more than one part, please submit the form only when you are ready to upload your audition recordings for all parts.


  • Much of the music selected for the Honors Performance will be classical in style. At least ONE of your auditions must be in this style, to demonstrate your skills in this area. 
  • If desired, vocalists may select and record an additional piece that they feel best demonstrates their abilities to accompany their required audition piece.
  • Your vocal recording must be a solo performance, however if your piece is accompanied by piano, please include the accompaniment in the submission recording. Live accompaniment is preferred but a recorded accompaniment or backtrack will be accepted.
  • Recommended Audition Materials
    • A selection from Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics, Twenty-Four Italian Songs & Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
    • A selection from Joan Frey Boytim's, The First Book of (Soprano, Mezzo/Alto, Tenor, Bass/Baritone) Solos
    • A selection from Gary Arvin's, 15 American Art Songs


  • Instrumentalists should prepare one of the following sample etudes, and if desired, may play an additional technical piece of their choosing.
    Clarinet – Bass
    Clarinet – Bb
    English Horn
    French Horn
    Flute & Piccolo
    Percussion – See Below
    Saxophone – Alto
    Saxophone – Bari
    Saxophone – Tenor
    String Bass
  • If you wish to audition on an instrument that is not linked above, please select a technical piece (or pieces) that you feel best demonstrate(s) your musical abilities. Classical pieces are preferred but not required.
  • All performances must be solo, without accompaniment.
  • Percussionists should include solos of the below etudes for snare, timpani, and marimba. You may also select an additional solo, if desired, that demonstrates your technical abilities on one of these or another percussion instrument. Please clearly identify each piece and instrument in your recording. Your total recording time for all audition recordings should be approximately 3-5 minutes. Please label your recordings clearly as to which instrument is featured in each.
    • Snare: Portraits in Rhythm by Antony Cirone, Etude No. 6 – page 8
    • Timpani: The Solo Timpanist by Vic Firth, Etude No. 18 (XVIII) – page 33
    • Marimba: Masterpieces for Marimba arr. by Thomas McMillan, Sonata in E MAJOR by Handel – page 22 (play to the end of measure 24; no repeats)

Please note that your audition may be DISQUALIFIED if:

  • Your recording falls significantly under the time limits listed above
  • Your recording is enhanced in any way
  • Your recording is of a concert or any other performance.
  • Your recording is not a solo audition
  • VOCALISTS: at least one of the audition pieces submitted is not of a classical style

Evaluation Process and Selection of Finalists

  • Applicants will receive an official confirmation email approximately two to three weeks following the Series‘ receipt of your materials. The Series will use the email address(es) you provide on your application to send official program communications.
  • Once a completed application is received, it will be reviewed by our Board of professional musicians to select Finalists for the Honors Ensembles. The 2024 High School Honors Performance Series is planned to feature a mixed choir, a treble choir, a concert band, a string orchestra, and a full orchestra. The Selection Board considers applicants equally for all relevant ensembles.
  • Performers selected for the program to perform as part of the Honors Ensembles are designated as Finalists and will be notified by email by the end of September 2023. Accepted Finalists are assigned to an ensemble based upon the recommendations of our Selection Board to satisfy balance requirements for each ensemble, as well as to maintain an equally high level of musicality for all ensembles. Please note: Your program dates may vary based on your selected ensemble. The Series cannot guarantee that, if accepted, an applicant will be placed into a specific ensemble.
  • Applicants who are not accepted will also be emailed by October 2023 and will be notified of their status: Runner-up (waitlisted) or Deferred (not waitlisted and not accepted).
  • All applicant notifications will be sent via email to all email address(es) listed on your account.
  • Accepted Finalists should expect to receive their sheet music and Conductor’s rehearsal notes by the end of December 2023.
  • After acceptance, should any Finalist cancel their participation, a First Runner-up will be offered the opportunity to fill the open seat.
Performing in Carnegie Hall was unforgettable, because of the acoustics, the excitement of all of the performers, and the complete concentration of everyone to do their best. When I return home, I hope to use what I learned to help me and my music program.


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