Aspen Music Festival And School

Collaborative Piano Back To Programs of Study /...

Important Information
  • Program offered Full Session only
  • Fellowships and scholarships available
  • All applicants must submit a VIDEO recording for pre-screening
  • Live virtual auditions are by invitation only
  • Repertoire List and Cover Letter required
Fees & Deadlines
Deadline: October 15, 2020
Application open September 1, 2020

Application Fee

$25 September 1-15, 2020
$60 September 16-October 15, 2020

Audition Dates


Rita Sloan, director

Jean Barr, visiting artist-faculty


The Collaborative Piano program provides training for exceptional pianists who are already committed to collaborative arts or are considering a career in this area. Also, solo pianists who are contemplating a career in this area are encouraged to consider the program as it is an excellent introduction to every facet of the collaborative field. The term “collaborative arts” includes any area of piano performance that involves more than solo piano (vocal and instrumental accompanying, duo work, orchestral piano, piano chamber music, etc.). The program combines practical experience with theoretical study, and covers the entire range of the keyboard collaborative arts.

Students may participate in orchestral performance under resident and visiting guest conductors, instrumental collaborations (studio accompanying and performances in various venues), vocal collaborations (studio accompanying focusing primarily on aria work, with additional experiences in opera, chamber music, and lieder, as available), and contemporary works with various ensembles. The program includes weekly seminars with the Aspen Music Festival and School’s artist-faculty as well as visiting guest artists. Subjects covered range from sight-reading and score reading to vocal and instrumental repertoire, interpretative skills, and varying aspects of the accompanist and collaborative artist’s work. On the condition of studio acceptance, private lessons are available with the Solo Piano faculty (see Solo Piano program page) or the faculty specializing in the Collaborative Arts (Kenneth Merrill, Virginia Weckstrom, Vivian Weilerstein, Jean Barr, and Collaborative Program Director Rita Sloan).

Collaborative Piano students have the opportunity to accompany master classes, private studio lessons, and Spotlight Recitals to augment their scholarship. Accompanying time varies; however, students spend upwards of ten hours per week participating in various activities. This program is offered for the Full Session only.

How to Apply


  • Resume and comprehensive repertoire list required
  • Cover letter describing your accompanying experience required, to include:
    • The areas you prefer to accompany (strings, voice, winds, orchestral experience, etc.)
    • Any experience with organ, celesta, harpsichord, or synthesizer
    • Any experience reading figured bass and improvising
    • If you are an international student, please describe your proficiency in the English language
    • Explain why you are interested in the collaborative arts, when this interest started, etc.
  • Two letters of recommendation encouraged but not required

Applicants who are interested in applying for more than one area of emphasis must notify the Office of Student Services prior to submitting their application. Applicants who are interested in also applying for an opera coaching opportunity with the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS program must submit a second application. Please contact the Office of Student Services for an application fee waiver.

Recorded Audition (submitted with your online application by October 15, 2020 for pre-screening)

  • Applicants must choose an area of study and prepare the appropriate repertoire from the list below

Live Virtual Audition (by invitation only)

  • All invited pianists will be scheduled for a live virtual audition to include:
    • Interview
    • Sight Reading
    • Playing selections from recorded audition requirements (those applying for vocal emphasis should be prepared to play and sing some selections)

Audition Repertoire


Applicants are encouraged but not required to record the below repertoire with an instrumentalist. For the 2021 season, AMFS will accept older video recordings of the below repertoire if they demonstrate collaboration. Please contact the Office of Student Services if you would like to request a comparable substitution.

  • Solo work of your choice
  • Choose one of the following concerto movements:
    • TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35, mvt 1
    • DVOŘÁK: Cello Concerto in B minor, B. 191, op. 104, mvt 1
  • PLUS one movement from
    • MOZART: one of the outside movements of any concerto
  • Select movements from one of the below sonatas (20-25 minutes OR minimum 1 slow and 1 fast movement):
    • BRAHMS: Sonata (Violin, Viola, or Cello and Piano)
    • BEETHOVEN: Sonata (Violin or Cello)
    • A work comparable to the above, which may be substituted with advance permission


Applicants are encouraged but not required to record selections from the below repertoire with a vocalist. Applicants are required to sing and play at least two of the below selections. For the 2021 season, AMFS will accept older video recordings of the below repertoire if they demonstrate collaboration. Please contact the Office of Student Services if you would like to request a comparable substitution.

  • Solo work and/or two contrasting movements from a substantial Mozart or Beethoven Sonata for Piano and Violin
  • Any Puccini aria
  • Any substantial aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute, Marriage of Figaro, or Don Giovanni
  • Stravinsky’s No Word from Tom or a comparable substitution
  • One German lied, one French melodie, and one art song in English


Applicants may also submit – in addition - a video or audio recording of a live performance with orchestra for Appalachian Spring and/or Petrushka.

  • Solo work of your choice
  • The thirteen-member version of Copland's Appalachian Spring
  • Standard excerpts from Stravinsky's Petrushka

Recording Specifications
  • Recordings should be as recent as possible: ideally made no more than three months prior to application.
  • Each excerpt or work must be played through without stopping.
  • All excerpts and works must be uploaded in the order listed.
  • Please label each upload with the name of the excerpt or work and the date it was recorded. DO NOT include your name.



Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO