Aspen Music Festival And School

Collaborative Piano Back To Programs of Study /...

Important Information
  • Program offered Full Session only.
  • Program includes emphases in Orchestral Piano, Instrumental Collaboration, Vocal Collaboration, Opera Coaching, and Choral Collaboration. 
  • All students receive fellowships.
  • 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 recommendation are required.
Fees & Deadlines
Deadline: December 20, 2022
(All emphases) Application open September 15, 2022 Deadline extended!

Application Fee

$30 September 15–October 15, 2022
$60 October 16–December 15, 2022
$110 December 16-December 20, 2022

Audition Dates

New York, NY, or Virtual
Friday, November 18 (Opera Coaching and/or Vocal Collaboration emphases)*
Boston, MA, or Virtual
Sunday, January 22 (Instrumental, Choral, and Orchestral emphases)
New York, NY, or Virtual
Saturday, January 28 (Instrumental, Choral, Orchestral, Opera Coaching, and Vocal Collaboration emphases)

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 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.

Students 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, vocal chamber music, studio accompanying, with additional experience in 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. All collaborative piano students also participate in the AMFS chorus.


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. Vocal Collaboration: Students who choose Vocal Collaboration will have weekly coachings in art song repertoire with resident and visiting artist-faculty and public performance opportunities with singers from the Aspen Opera Theater and Vocal Arts Program. Through this work, students will explore a range of song styles and deepen their knowledge of the vast art song repertoire. Students will also have the opportunity to play in voice lessons and masterclasses with the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS voice faculty and visiting guest artists, which will include art song and opera repertoire. Those seeking additional studies in operatic repertoire may participate in selected opera-focused seminars.  

  2. Instrumental Collaboration: Students choosing Instrumental Collaboration will have weekly lessons/coachings with resident faculty as they explore a range of sonata and concerto repertoire, and they have plentiful performance opportunities with their instrumental partners. Interested pianists may also participate in the Aspen chamber music program, which provides additional coachings and performance opportunities. Students will also have the opportunity to play in lessons and masterclasses with the Aspen instrumental artist-faculty and visiting guest artists.  

  3. Opera Coaching will be under the joint auspices of the Collaborative Piano and Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Programs mentored by Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS Program Co-Artistic Director Patrick Summers. Collaborative pianists with an opera coaching emphasis may also have the opportunity to audition for Young Artist Programs and other industry artists. Vocal coaches will work with singers on the operatic repertoire and will be répétiteurs for mainstage opera productions, master classes, and auditions. Through hands-on participation in scene preparation, pianists will be trained in coaching technique.  

  4. The newly created Choral Collaboration emphasis will be for the pianist of the Aspen Music Festival and School Chorus. This student will also have weekly lessons/coachings in songs and sonatas, according to their interests.  

  5. Students 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 Collaboration).

Collaborative Piano students can accompany performance classes, private studio lessons, and Spotlight Recitals. 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.



  • 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. 
    • Orchestral Piano
    • Instrumental Collaboration  
    • Vocal Collaboration 
    • Opera Coaching 
    • Choral Collaboration
  • 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. 

Fellowships and scholarships available for all emphases. See our Fellowships and Financial Assistance page. Applicants should submit the financial aid form for access to all funding opportunities. 



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

  • A solo or an instrumental work (or movement)

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

    • Orchestral Collaboration – orchestra excerpt (either solo or with orchestra)  
    • 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  
    • Choral Collaboration – excerpt of a performance/rehearsal with chorus 



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. 


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



  • 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. 


  • 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. A singer will be provided for applicants auditioning in person. Applicants auditioning virtually are responsible for making their own arrangements.

*Late applications to Collaborative Piano – Vocal Collaboration may be considered. Late applicants will be responsible for arranging their own singer. Please contact the Office of Student Services for more information. 


  • Applicants will sing and play the following: 
    • Carmen, Act Two Quintet  
    • Falstaff, Act One, Scene Two (beginning to rehearsal 21)  
    • Die Zauberflöte, Sprecher/Tamino Scene  
  • Applicants will play two songs from the following list. 
    • DEBUSSY: Green  
    • STRAUSS: Cäcilie  
    • SCHUBERT: Ganymed


  • Any chorus from Handel's Messiah 
  • An open-score reading of a Bach Chorale (prepared) 
  • Sight reading will include open-score reading of a Bach Choral 
  • Any chorus from one of Verdi's operas  
  • Play and sing one standard art song of your choice and play a second contrasting song (singing not required for the second song)



Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO