Steinway D Grand Piano | Setnor Auditorium

The Setnor School of Music offers nine graduate programs that lead to a master of music (M.M.) degree: composition, conducting, the six performance programs (organ, percussion, piano, strings, voice, and wind instruments), and voice pedagogy. Application information and audition requirements for these programs are listed below.

Additionally, in conjunction with Syracuse University's School of Education, the Setnor School of Music offers M.M. and master of science (M.S.) degrees in music education. Admission to music education is through the School of Education.

If you are a current SU student, or if you recently completed a graduate program at SU, you may qualify for the internal admission process.

Application deadline: February 1 for fall admission

  • Setnor School of Music programs currently do not offer spring admission.
  • If you are applying for a McNair Graduate Fellowship or a University African American Fellowship, you must submit your application by January 1 for fall admission. To be considered for all other merit-based awards, please submit your application by February 1.

Completed applications must include:

  • Online application.
  • Audition. Refer to the bottom of this page for audition submission information and requirements.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Consult online application for details.
  • Academic transcript. Unofficial transcript uploaded to the online application. If you are admitted, an official, degree-bearing transcript must be mailed to the University. Applicants must complete a U.S. bachelor's degree (or its equivalent in another country) before starting a graduate program.
  • Personal statement/essay. Describe in approximately 500 words your main academic interests, why you wish to study for the degree you have chosen, why you wish to study at Syracuse University, how you expect to finance your studies, and your plans for the future after you receive your degree. Upload directly to the online application.
  • Resume. Upload directly to the online application.
  • Application fee. A non-refundable application fee of $75. See online application for details.

For international students:

English proficiency

All graduate international applicants to Syracuse University whose first language is not English must prove they are proficient in the English language. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is required of all graduate applicants whose native language is not English.

Use DI code 2823 when requesting your TOEFL scores to be sent to Syracuse University.

  • The recommended minimum TOEFL score required on the internet-based (iBT) test is 90 for all programs.
  • The minimum IELTS score is 6.5 for all programs except the M.A. in audio arts and the M.F.A. in collaborative design, which require a score of 100 on the iBT.
  • A student may be admitted with scores lower than those listed above as determined by the individual departments/school in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Under those circumstances students will be admitted provisionally with the need for developmental English language education. Students may satisfy the English language proficiency requirement by attending our English Language Institute (ELI) and completing Level 4 at the institute. Find out more information on the ELI website. If students are conditionally admitted for English proficiency, it is not mandatory for them to attend the ELI. The ELI is an alternative option for students who do not wish to retake the TOEFL or IELTS.

The TOEFL or IELTS requirement may be waived in certain situations:

  • An applicant who has attended an undergraduate institution in the U.S. or one outside the U.S. that is based on the American system of education where the language of instruction for a student's entire schooling has been the English language.

The decision to waive the standard requirement is at the discretion of the department to which you are applying. Email admissg@syr.edu to see if you may qualify.

Financial documents

International students must show proof of sufficient funding for the first year of graduate study in order to have a student visa authorized. For detailed requirements and instructions, see the instructions in our online application and the instructions on the Graduate School website.

Submitting Your Audition

Applicants may audition in person or by mail. Auditions may be submitted before or after your application.

1. In Person

It is recommended that you audition in person to be considered for Setnor School of Music financial merit awards. Instrumentalists audition without accompaniment. An accompanist will be provided free of charge for voice auditions. To schedule an audition, please contact us at admissg@syr.edu.

2. Online


We encourage applicants who can not audition in person to submit their audition materials to us online at http://app.getacceptd.com/syrmusic. The online portal offers additional instruction for submitting materials. There is a $25 fee for each submission you make through Acceptd. Please note that the online portal will be available when applications open for Fall 2016 in October 2015.

3. By Mail


If necessary, materials can be sent to our office at the address below. Make sure materials are labeled with your full name, email address, and program of interest. Please do not send anything that has already been submitted through the online application.

Mailing address for audition materials:

Office of Research and Graduate Studies
College of Visual and Performing Arts
Syracuse University
222 Smith Hall
Syracuse NY 13244-1180

Audition Requirements

Composition


Please submit three scores (with recordings if available) of three works online through Acceptd. At least one score must be for large ensemble (orchestra, wind ensemble, sinfonietta). Contact: Professor Nic Scherzinger, chair, composition department, nscherzi@syr.edu.

Choral Conducting

Submit a 20- to 30-minute recording online through Acceptd, including at least 10 minutes of conducting in performance and 10 minutes rehearsing. The camera should be facing the conductor. Conductors who pass the video audition will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Setnor School of Music’s choral ensembles. Two selections will be conducted: one assigned by the director of choral activities that the ensemble knows, and one chosen by the applicant to teach the ensemble. Contact: Professor John Warren, director of choral studies, jfwarr01@syr.edu.

Orchestral Conducting

Submit a 20- to 30-minute recording online through Acceptd, including at least 10 minutes of conducting in performance and 10 minutes rehearsing. The camera should be facing the conductor. Conductors who pass the video audition will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Setnor School of Music ensembles. Contact: Professor James Tapia, director of orchestral studies, jrtapia@syr.edu.

Wind Conducting

Submit a 20- to 30-minute recording online through Acceptd, including at least 10 minutes of conducting in performance and 10 minutes rehearsing. The camera should be facing the conductor. Conductors who pass the video audition will be invited to campus to audition with one of the Setnor School of Music ensembles. Contact: Professor Bradley Ethington, winds and percussion area coordinator and director of bands, bpething@syr.edu.

Music Education

Admission is through Syracuse University’s School of Education. Students must apply to and meet the admissions requirements of the School of Education as well as the Setnor School of Music. The GRE may be requested. For information and deadlines, contact Professor Elisa Dekaney, chair, music education department, at emdekane@syr.edu or Laurie Deyo, the School of Education’s graduate admissions recruiter, at 315.443.2505 or lldeyo@syr.edu.

Piano

Applicants have the option of submitting audition materials that focus on one of two emphases: piano performance (solo) or piano performance (collaborative arts) For the graduate emphasis in solo performance, applicants should present a representative recital program (a minimum of 40 minutes of music). International applicants may, in lieu of a live audition, provide high-quality video recordings online via Acceptd. Applicants auditioning for the collaborative arts emphasis should present a representative program of solo, vocal, and chamber music. Applicants should consult with the chair of the keyboard department to finalize repertoire choices. Please note that students interested in either emphasis should apply to the M.Mus. in performance for piano on their application to Syracuse University. Contact: Professor Ida Tili-Trebicka, ttrebick@syr.edu.

Organ

Applicants for the graduate program in organ performance should choose three works in contrasting styles (approximately 30 minutes of music). Applicants will be expected to sight-read a short passage of music as part of the audition. Contact: Professor Annie Laver, alaver@syr.edu.

Voice (including performance and voice pedagogy)

Present a minimum of six selections; include at least one aria and one piece in English. All selections should be of varying styles, historical periods, and languages. In addition, present a resume documenting evidence of performance experience at the university or professional level along with a comprehensive repertoire list. An accompanist will be provided at no charge. You are encouraged to send copies of your music two weeks in advance if you believe the music is difficult to sight-read. Contact/send music to: Professor Janet Brown; voice area coordinator; Setnor School of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University; 304A Crouse College; Syracuse NY 13244-1010; janbrown@syr.edu.

Violin

Be prepared to play from memory the first movement of a major 19th- or 20th-century concerto, two contrasting movements of an unaccompanied Bach sonata or partita, and a caprice by Paganini or Dont (Op. 35). Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, 315.443.2191.

Viola


Perform the following repertoire from memory.

  1. Three movements of a cello suite or two contrasting movements of a violin sonata/partita by J.S. Bach
  2. Two contrasting movements of a standard concerto OR one movement of a standard concerto and one movement of a sonata or a contemporary piece (sonatas may be performed with music).

Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, 315.443.2191.

Cello

Play from memory, two contrasting movements from a major concerto (classical, romantic, or contemporary); three contrasting movements from a solo Bach suite; and one etude from Popper 40 etudes Op. 73 or Piatti 12 Caprices Op. 25, or an equivalent virtuoso piece. Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, 315.443.2191.

Guitar

In addition to all the diatonic major and minor scales edited by Andres Segovia, graduate candidates auditioning on the classical guitar should prepare three categories from the five listed below. All selections should be performed from memory.

  1. The first movement of a major 19th-, 20th- or 21st-century concerto
  2. A large-scale contemporary composition
  3. A large-scale 19th-century composition
  4. Two contrasting movements from a lute suite, cello suite, or unaccompanied violin sonata/partita of Johann Sebastian Bach
  5. Two contrasting etudes by Heitor Villa-lobos, Giulio Regondi, or Angelo Gilardino

Contact: Professor Laura Bossert, string area coordinator, 315.443.2191.

Winds/brass/percussion

Be prepared to perform a major concerto or equivalent work or works from the solo repertoire. Sight-reading will also be required as part of the audition. Contact: Professor Bradley Ethington, winds and percussion area coordinator and director of bands, bpething@syr.edu.