Harp repertoire for conservatory auditions

Posted In: Young Harpists

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    Abby Kent on #165822

    I am a junior in high school, and I am starting to look at the requirements for harp auditions at conservatories. Almost all the big ones ask for a Classical, Romantic, and 20th/21st century piece from the solo harp repertoire. Since the harp is a relatively new instrument, I can’t easily find a solo Classical or Romantic piece. I have learned Giovanni Pescetti’s Sonata in c minor (all 3 mvts.), transcribed by Salzedo, and I thought I might use this as my Classical piece. However, since Pescetti’s dates are on the borderline of Baroque and Classical (1704-1766), it is not clear that he is a bona fide Classical composer. Also, this piece is transcribed for harp by Salzedo, and I don’t think conservatories want transcriptions. In short, does anyone know of a good Classical audition piece that was written specifically for solo harp?

    In addition, it has been difficult finding a Romantic piece, since most of the most famous solo repertoire for harp was written only within the last century or so. I have found a few pieces that also are very early Romantic composers, so it is not as easy as picking out a Chopin piece for piano. Does anyone know a great Romantic piece for an audition?

    Also, any ideas about 20th/21st century compositions would be great. I have considered tackling the Hindemith sonata, but I haven’t decided yet.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165823

    The Pescetti is just fine for your classical selection. It should not matter that it’s a transcription. The borders between musical periods are artificial, and not that exact. It has

    niina on #165824

    I am doing auditions this Sept, and am probably playing Naderman: Prelude and Sonatina no. 7, Glinka: Variations on a Theme of Mozart, with Nocturne (which I started practicing last month) and then something else which I haven’t decided on yet. Maybe Firedance if it’s allowed.
    Good luck with yours whatever you decide.


    Abby Kent on #165825

    Thanks, Niina.

    I was just curious; where are you auditioning? Most

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165826

    Niina, to me that is not enough contrast. I would not add the Nocturne by Glinka to the Variations, especially if you are doing the version with a nocturne variation. Do you have something from a later period that you already know? How about the Debussy Arabesque, for example?

    niina on #165827

    I’m going to audition with Trinity Laban with Gabriella Dall’Olio, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. But now I’ve been told that I have to do Nadermann Sonatine op 6 (first movement) (Leduc Edition) not his no.7, so I had better get practising. Plus there is a 45-minute musicianship test. The auditions are in October and December.

    niina on #165828

    To be honest Saul, the pieces that I am supposed to be playing seem to change each week (not by my choice). So I’m not entirely clear what I’m playing, except for Nadermann Sonatine op 6 (first movement), that one is a requirement.

    And I only have 6 months!! Bearing in mind I have only been playing for just over 3 years, it will be quite tough for me.


    Philippa mcauliffe on #165829


    Are the absolute requirements for your auditions clear?

    niina on #165830

    Thanks Georgina.
    You’re spot on with all your observations. I will ask my teacher to nail this down for me as soon as I get back to school. Sometimes I have so many pieces to play, I’m not clear what or when I’m playing.


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