Collaborative Piano

Important Information

  • Program offered Full Session only.
  • All student receive fellowships.
  • Program includes emphases in Orchestral Piano, Instrumental Collaboration, Vocal Collaboration, and Opera Coaching. 
  • Program deadlines and audition dates vary by emphasis (see below).
  • Live or virtual auditions are by invitation only.
  • Resume, repertoire list, cover letter, and two recommendations required.

Fees & Deadlines

Deadline: November 8, 2023
(Opera Coaching, Vocal Collaboration) Applications open September 15, 2023.
Deadline: December 15, 2023
(Instrumental Collaboration, Orchestral Piano) Applications open September 15, 2023.

Application Fee

$30 September 15–October 15, 2023
$60 October 16–December 15, 2023

Audition Dates

New York City, NY or virtual
Saturday, December 2, 2023 (Opera Coaching, Vocal Collaboration)
New York City, NY or virtual
Saturday, January 27, 2024 (Instrumental Collaboration, Orchestral Piano)
Boston, MA or virtual
Sunday, February 11, 2024 (Instrumental Collaboration, Orchestral Piano)

Cameron Stowe, director
Patrick Summers, Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Program, co-artistic director
Myra Huang, Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Program, director of musical administration and head coach
Anton Nel, coach

The Collaborative Piano program provides training for exceptional pianists who are already committed to collaborative arts or are considering a career in this area. Solo pianists who are contemplating a career in this area are also 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, opera coaching, choral accompanying, etc.). The program combines practical experience with theoretical study and covers a wide range of the keyboard collaborative arts.

Depending on the individual's enrolled area of emphasis, pianists may participate in orchestral performance under resident and visiting guest conductors, instrumental collaborations (studio accompanying, duo performances in various venues, chamber music), vocal collaborations (art song performances, studio accompanying, experiences in playing opera), and contemporary works with various ensembles.

The Collaborative Piano Program includes weekly individual coachings, studio classes, and seminars with the Aspen Music Festival and School’s artist-faculty as well as visiting guest artists. Seminar subjects range from sight reading and score reading to vocal and instrumental repertoire, including special topics in song literature, composer-focused workshops, playing orchestral reductions, conducting, and other areas related collaborative artist’s work.


When applying, students are encouraged to choose an area of emphasis for the summer. In most cases, the chosen area does not restrict the student’s activities during the summer, as students are encouraged to explore according to their interests and abilities (i.e., an “instrumentally focused” student may wish to participate in some of the art song performances).  

  1. Instrumental Collaboration: Pianists choosing Instrumental Collaboration will explore a range of sonata and concerto repertoire, having plentiful performance opportunities with their instrumental partners. If interested, they may also participate in the Aspen Chamber Music program, which provides additional coachings and performance opportunities. Pianists will have the opportunity to play in lessons and masterclasses with the Aspen instrumental artist-faculty and visiting guest artists. Mentored in weekly private coachings by Cameron Stowe and Anton Nel, instrumental pianists will also have access to individual coachings with the festival’s roster of collaborative coaches.  

  2. Vocal Collaboration: Pianists who choose the Vocal Collaboration emphasis will focus on art song and other vocal repertoire and have public performance opportunities with singers from the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS (AOTVA) Program. Through their participation in Art Song Showcase concerts, pianists will explore a range of song styles and deepen their knowledge of the vast art song repertoire. Depending on the individual’s interest in opera, music theater, and/or new music, they will also be assigned to additional projects with AOTVA. Pianists will have the opportunity to play in voice lessons and masterclasses with the AOTVA voice faculty and visiting guest artists, which will include art song and opera repertoire. Vocal collaborators may also be assigned choral opportunities as they arise. Mentored in weekly coachings by Cameron Stowe, vocal pianists will also have access to coachings and/or performance seminars with other AMFS artist-faculty, including Kenneth Merrill, Myra Huang, and Patrick Summers.  

  3. Opera Coaching is under the joint auspices of the Collaborative Piano and Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Programs mentored by AOTVA Program co-artistic director Patrick Summers, and director of musical administration and head coach, Myra Huang. Collaborative pianists with an opera coaching emphasis may also have the opportunity to audition for Young Artist Programs and other industry artists. Opera coaches will work with singers on the operatic repertoire and will be répétiteurs for mainstage opera productions, master classes, and auditions. Opera coaches may also be assigned choral opportunities as they arise.  

  4. Pianists who choose the Orchestral Piano emphasis will have many opportunities to perform with the Aspen Music Festival and School orchestras, working under resident and visiting guest conductors. These pianists will also be able to participate in weekly coachings and activities listed above (Instrumental or Vocal Collaboration).  

Collaborative Piano students can accompany performance classes, private studio lessons, and Spotlight Recitals. Accompanying time varies; however, students spend upwards of 10 hours per week participating in various activities. This program is offered for the Full Session only and all students receive fellowships. Please see our Fellowship and Financial Assistance page to learn more.



  • Choose area/s of emphasis. Applicants interested in multiple emphases must submit an application and pre-screen to each area separately. Application fees will be waived for additional emphases. 
    • Instrumental Collaboration  
    • Vocal Collaboration 
    • Opera Coaching 
    • Orchestral Piano
  • Resume and comprehensive repertoire list required (please include repertoire reflective of the emphasis for which you are applying) 

  • Cover letter required. Please include:
    • Experience and preferences in accompanying strings, voice, winds, orchestral experience, etc. 
    • Any experience with organ, celesta, harpsichord, or synthesizer
    • Any experience reading figured bass and improvising
    • International students: Please describe your proficiency in the English language.
    • Level of interest in the collaborative arts, when this interest started, etc.
  • Two letters of recommendation required. Recommendations should be specific to the emphasis for which you are applying. 


Deadlines vary by emphasis. See Application Fees and Deadlines. All applicants must submit a video audition and will be pre-screened for the opportunity to advance to a live audition. The video audition should include the following. 

  • A solo piano work (or movement) or a piano-instrumental duo work (or movement)

  • Plus the following, based on applicant’s choice of emphasis:

    • Instrumental Collaboration – a movement or work with an instrumentalist  
    • Vocal Collaboration – two contrasting songs or one song and one aria with a singer  
    • Opera Coaching – part or all of an opera scene with applicant singing vocal lines  
    • Orchestral Piano – orchestra excerpt (either solo or with orchestra)  


  • November 8 – vocal collaboration, opera coaching
  • December 15 – instrumental collaboration, orchestral piano


Applicants being considered for admission will be invited to audition live. Invited pianists may choose to attend their audition in person or participate virtually through Zoom.  

All applicants will be required to sight read and complete an interview in addition to preparing the following repertoire by emphasis. 


Applicants are required to provide their own collaborator for live auditions. Applicants for in-person auditions can bring their own collaborator or hire a musician from this roster.

  • 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 
  • 20–25 minutes chosen from the following sonatas (must include at least one movement from Group A and at least one movement from Group B). 
    • Group A
      BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata No. 4 
      BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 7 
    • Group B:
      BRAHMS: Violin Sonata in A Major 
      FRANCK: Violin Sonata 
  • A piece of applicant’s choice, which can be a solo, vocal work, or instrumental work (a single movement will suffice)

Note: Works comparable to the required repertoire above may be substituted with advance permission. 


Applicants are required to provide their own collaborator for live auditions. Applicants for in-person auditions can bring their own collaborator or hire a musician from this roster

  • Four required songs (in original high keys): 
    • Debussy, Green  
    • Strauss, Cäcilie  
    • Schubert, Ganymed 
    • English language song of choice 
  • Choose two arias from the following: 
    • STRAVINSKY: No word from Tom (The Rake’s Progress)  
    • MOZART: Temerari...Come scoglio (Cosi fan tutte)  
    • PUCCINI: Un bel dì (Madama Butterfly)  

Note: At least two of the chosen songs/arias must be sung and played by applicant.  


Applicants are required to provide their own collaborator for live auditions. Applicants for in-person auditions can bring their own collaborator or hire a musician from this roster.

  • Applicants will sing and play the following: 
    • Bizet's Carmen, Act Two Quintet 
    • Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Act Two Finale (beginning until Antonio’s entrance)  
    • Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Composer’s Aria 
    • Mozart, one secco recit of applicant’s choice   
  • Applicants will play two songs from the following list. 
    • DEBUSSY: Green  
    • STRAUSS: Cäcilie  
    • SCHUBERT: Ganymed


  • Solo work of your choice 
  • The complete 13-member version of Copland's Appalachian Spring 
  • Danse Russe (Russian Dance) from Stravinsky's Petrushka 
  • OPTIONAL: Applicants may also submit—in addition to the requirements above—a video or audio recording of a live performance with orchestra for Appalachian Spring and/or Petrushka.