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A Message from the Dean

Dean Lee Cioppa
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Colburn School, and to thank you for your interest in the Colburn Conservatory of Music.

As you continue on your path to a life in music, your choice of a school for advanced training is a critical component in your journey. Faculty, performance opportunities, the surrounding arts community, alumni success, peers who become your collaborators and lifelong colleagues—all of these different elements create the ideal atmosphere for developing your craft to the highest level.

One of the most unique characteristics of the Colburn Conservatory is the financial support provided to every student. All of our students receive full scholarships for tuition, grants for the Colburn Residence Hall, and a meal plan in the Colburn Café. We all know the common saying “time is money.” At Colburn, money is time. Without the financial burdens of paying tuition, taking out loans, or working a job while attending school, students have the freedom to focus fully on their studies. This extraordinary gift of time allows for an incredible capacity to achieve at the highest level, to fully recognize the potential for artistry, craft, and communication in every student.

Enjoy exploring and learning more about the Conservatory! I hope to see you at a performance or receive your application for admission.

Warmly,
Lee Cioppa
Dean, Conservatory of Music

Performance Opportunities

Colburn Orchestra on stage

Colburn Orchestra

Participation in orchestra is one of the central elements of the programs at the Colburn Conservatory. Concerts are held in halls around the LA area, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Soraya. Each concert features a student concerto soloist, including the winner of the annual Concerto Competition.

Colburn Chamber Music Society

Students collaborate with the guest artists a week before each concert, providing them with a professional chamber experience at a high level.

Performance Forum

Performance Forum is an opportunity for Conservatory students to perform for their peers and teachers, as well as the Colburn community at large, and takes place on a weekly basis.

Chamber Forum

Chamber Forum features Conservatory students performing works for small ensembles. Participation in chamber music is one of the central elements of the programs in the Conservatory of Music and develops skills of listening and collaboration, as well as an appreciation for the challenges of melding unique individuals into a cohesive group.

Private Lessons

Applied study is at the heart of the performance mission of the Colburn School. All such study is done one-on-one with faculty members who have held principal positions with many of the country’s top orchestras, as well as internationally acclaimed soloists and chamber musicians.

Master Classes and Studio Classes

Each year students have the opportunity to work with prominent musicians from around the world in a master class setting. Recent artists include Ray Chen, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Colburn’s Artist-in-Residence. They also perform regularly in studio classes led by Colburn faculty members.

Contemporary Ensemble

This ensemble is open to all students who wish to study and perform music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Baroque Ensemble

This ensemble is dedicated to the performance of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music. Although the ensemble plays on modern instruments, it is geared towards developing an awareness of and sensitivity to the nuances of historically informed performance practices.

Guest Artists

Students have the opportunity to participate in mock auditions with guest conductors, play side-by-side with the LA Phil brass, and learn from orchestral repertoire classes with LA Phil musicians.

Audition

Student on plaza with violin

Prescreening Video Submission

Auditions are by invitation only. A video recording is required as part of the application in order to be considered for an audition invitation. You must include the listed repertoire for your instrument and upload it directly to your application; please refer to the repertoire page for specific requirements. Professional or studio recordings are not required, but the sound quality should be as optimal as possible.

Live Audition

Live audition invitations are sent in mid-December.  At this time, we do intend to have live auditions on campus in Los Angeles during the month of February.  The process may vary by instrument, and more information will be shared in December in the invitation letter.

After the Audition

Admissions results are released no later than April 1 via the application portal.

Frequently Asked Questions

These requirements are subject to change based on the needs of the School and the latest local, state, and national guidelines.

To keep our community safe and provide the best possible learning environment for our students, the Colburn School will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students living in the School’s residence halls.

Students should be fully vaccinated before arriving on campus. Proof of vaccination will be required before students may make an appointment to move in; any vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) are acceptable. All students will also be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test upon initial arrival on the Colburn campus. Should a student have a positive test result, s/he will be required to strictly quarantine in their room or a medical suite for a period of 14 days.

The only exception to the vaccination requirement is for students residing outside the United States who are unable to receive an acceptable vaccine. These students must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight to Los Angeles. Students should come directly to Colburn upon their arrival in Los Angeles; otherwise they will be required to provide proof of an additional negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival on campus. Unvaccinated students must receive their first dose of the vaccine within 72 hours of their arrival on campus and provide proof of full vaccination no later than 6 weeks after their arrival at Colburn. Students who are under the age of 18 will need a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Consent form signed by a parent or guardian, authorizing a Colburn designate to accompany them to be vaccinated. Until they are fully vaccinated, students will be required to undergo rapid testing twice weekly, complete a daily health check, and remain masked and socially distanced at all times when outside their room; students may also be required to remain on the Colburn campus until fully vaccinated.

Students may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons, and these requests must be submitted by July 1, 2021 to Provost Adrian Daly (adaly@colburnschool.edu). Colburn will provide reasonable accommodations to these students so long as the failure to be immunized will not prevent the student from fulfilling the essential functions or curricular requirements of the academic program. Students granted a vaccination exemption will not be permitted to live in on-campus housing during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Students must be fully vaccinated by August 18 before moving into the Residence Hall. The only exceptions will be for those students who are unable to receive the vaccine prior to arriving at Colburn who must begin or continue the vaccination process within 72 hours of arrival at Colburn. Students requesting an exemption from the vaccination requirement for the Residence Hall will need to make alternate housing arrangements if approved. The deadline to submit a request for an exemption to the Provost is Thursday, July 1, 2021.

It is not currently possible to receive the vaccine at the Colburn School at this time. However, there are many options near the School to receive the vaccine – pharmacies, Urgent Care, medical centers.

No. COVID-19 vaccines are free to the public. If you have health insurance, the insurance company may be billed for the cost, but you will not have any out-of-pocket costs.

Conservatory of Music students should upload their vaccination documentation here.

Vaccination Cards or documentation for Approved Exemptions must be uploaded by Monday, August 2, 2021.

For U.S. immunizations, the COVID-19 vaccination card issued by the CDC to vaccination sites is accepted.

For non-U.S. immunizations, please upload proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine with the following information in English: 1. Your full name, 2. Your date of birth, 3. The name of the vaccine you received, 4. The date(s) you received the vaccine, 5. Documentation must be from a healthcare organization or vaccination site. If your documentation is not in English, you must provide a notarized translation in addition to the vaccination documentation. If you completed a 2-dose series, please upload documentation that shows both doses administered. You may upload each dose individually as you get them or together. but you will not be able to make a move-in appointment unless both doses are uploaded and reviewed. If the documentation uploaded is missing any required information, you will be contacted directly for clarification.

Students who are unvaccinated must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight to Los Angeles. Students should come directly to Colburn upon their arrival in Los Angeles and will be expected to follow current CDC guidelines for unvaccinated travelers (see below).

Unvaccinated students must receive their first dose of the vaccine within 72 hours of their arrival on campus (unless s/he has a positive COVID test result) and provide proof of full vaccination no later than 6 weeks after their arrival at Colburn.

Upon arrival at Colburn, unvaccinated students must follow CDC guidelines for unvaccinated travelers. These requirements are subject to change based on updated recommendations from the CDC.

Unvaccinated students must:

  • Quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even with a negative PCR test and rapid test at check-in.
  • Take a PCR test 3-5 days after travel.
    • If the result is negative, continue to quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If the result is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

Quarantined students with negative test results must remain in their suite, with the exception of picking up meals and being alone in a practice room. Classes must be attended remotely via Zoom. All other events and requirements, including lessons and studio classes, must either be postponed for the period of 7 days or attended via Zoom.

Quarantined students with a positive test result will be relocated to a medical suite and will be strictly quarantined within the suite for a period of 14 days.

Until they are fully vaccinated, students will be required to undergo rapid testing twice weekly, complete a daily health check, and remain masked and socially distanced at all times when outside their room; students may also be required to remain on the Colburn campus until fully vaccinated.

The Colburn School will be following the Los Angeles Department of Health guidelines. Requirements to be updated after June 15, 2021. At the current time, all individuals on campus must complete the daily health check using the LiveSafe app.

Any vaccines approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) are acceptable.

Students may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons, and these requests must be submitted by July 1, 2021 to Provost Adrian Daly (adaly@colburnschool.edu). Colburn will provide reasonable accommodations to these students so long as the failure to be immunized will not prevent the student from fulfilling the essential functions or curricular requirements of the academic program. Students granted a vaccination exemption will not be permitted to live in on-campus housing during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Requests for exemptions must be submitted to Provost Adrian Daly (adaly@colburnschool.edu) by July 1, 2021.

The School will be following guidelines from the Los Angeles Department of Health for permissible activities for unvaccinated students on campus. We anticipate guidelines being updated within the next several weeks and will update this page as soon as information is available. Students who receive a medical or religious exemption will be allowed on campus.

Students who are not vaccinated will be required to wear a mask when on campus and socially distance. Students may not be able to participate in in-person classes or performance activities if the class or event is not socially distanced in structure. A daily health check via LiveSafe will be required. Students who receive an exemption will not be allowed to live in on-campus housing.

Yes.

No.

Yes, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for 12-17 year olds.

Yes. Students under the age of 18 are required to submit the Pfizer Vaccine Consent Form authorizing a Colburn designate to accompany them to be vaccinated if a parent or guardian are not accompanying the student.

All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.

The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. The side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Colburn School will be following the Los Angeles Department of Health guidelines. Currently, masks are required indoors at the School unless someone is in a room working/practicing alone. Requirements will be updated as information is provided.

Yes. Colburn will allow students who can demonstrate that they are living outside of the United States and are unable to be vaccinated to move into the Residence Hall as early as August 7. Residence Life will reach out directly to individuals who have indicated that they cannot receive a vaccine before arriving in the United States.

Yes. A rapid test will be required for all students upon arrival to campus before moving in to the Residence Hall. The Colburn School will provide rapid tests at check-in at the School.

No. However, students will need to be mindful of movement in Los Angeles where they might be exposed to the virus.

Live Audition

Percussionist with mallets sitting down around marimbas and timpani

Auditions will be held on campus in Los Angeles. All applicants attending the live audition must be fully vaccinated and will be required to show proof of vaccination in order to attend the audition.

If COVID restrictions prevent international applicants from being able to travel to Los Angeles (due to visa or travel restrictions), applicants may request a virtual audition with the exception of conducting applicants, who will be required to audition in person if invited. Additional information will be provided to those applicants who pass the prescreening round; this should not be requested prior to receiving an invitation to the live audition. Applicants residing in the United States are not eligible for a virtual audition and must audition in person.

Those applicants invited to participate in the live audition process will be notified by mid-to-late December.

Audition dates are posted below by instrument. For instruments that have multiple dates, applicants will only attend one audition date.

Bassoon: February 17
Cello: February 15, 16, 17
Clarinet: February 14
Conducting: February 4
Double Bass: February 15, 16, 17
Flute: February 10
Harp: February 7
Horn: February 7
Oboe: February 17
Percussion: February 18
Piano: Virtual auditions January 24 and 25; In-person final round February 28
Trumpet: February 7
Viola: February 15, 16, 17
Violin: February 14, 15, 17

The audition day allows us to become better acquainted with prospective students and includes more than just your audition. Because of this, we ask that you make yourself available from 8 am–7 pm on your assigned date.

Here’s what to expect:

  • An audition before a committee of faculty members
  • A lesson or meeting with a faculty member (for selected students)
  • Assessment testing in music theory for BM and PD applicants
  • A group interview with a senior administrator or faculty committee
  • An interview and an essay writing exam for non-native English speakers
  • Other assessments as determined by the school

There are several hotels within walking distance of the Colburn School. The hotels in Little Tokyo are the farthest, but you can hop on the DASH that runs up 1st Street and walk a block to Colburn on Grand and  2nd Street. Or take a short Lyft or Uber ride to the campus. Feel free to check in with the Admissions Office regarding hotel choices.

Studies in Conducting

Salonen Conducting Fellows

The Colburn School is pleased to announce the addition of the Negaunee Conducting Program to the Colburn Conservatory, led by world-renowned composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The Salonen Conducting Fellows will pursue a Diploma with a conducting emphasis. The Fellows will study directly with Salonen and serve as preparatory conductors for the flagship Colburn Orchestra. They will also conduct the Zipper Outreach Orchestra, Colburn’s performing ensemble for its community engagement activities, and the Concerto Forum Showcase, an annual public concert that features soloists from the Conservatory of Music. A maximum of three students will participate in the program in any given year to allow ample podium time and access to Salonen.

Additionally, these Fellows will serve as assistants to Maestro Salonen at the Philharmonia Orchestra, where they will lead the orchestra in both its residency series and designated tour dates. The Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with other young artists on the Philharmonia’s Emerging Artists program, designed to connect young artists to the wider life of the Philharmonia; work with Philharmonia’s management to develop and produce Salonen’s flagship projects; and serve as assistant conductors to Salonen for his international engagements with the Philharmonia, other orchestras, opera houses, tours, and festivals.

In keeping with the Colburn Conservatory model, students will receive a full scholarship to cover tuition, room, and board.

Graduate Studies in Chamber Music

Graduate Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence

The Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence program is open to pre-formed groups with significant experience and recognition as an ensemble. The program is two years in length (no extensions granted), and individual ensemble members may enroll in either the AD or MM program-Chamber Music Emphasis. In general, the ensemble should be three or more players; duos should send a letter of inquiry before applying. Only one group will be accepted to the residency program per year.

The Chamber Ensemble will receive primarily group applied lessons, with occasional individual lessons in support of ensemble playing. In addition, there will be weekly chamber coachings with Conservatory faculty and guest artists. The ensemble will perform a minimum of one recital per semester at the school and will be an ambassador for Colburn in the local community as well as mentors for younger ensembles at the Colburn School. Ensemble members may be rotated into Conservatory orchestra cycles.

Interested ensembles should contact Admissions for pre-screening repertoire requirements and additional application details. Groups will submit ensemble recordings for prescreening; the live audition will include an ensemble audition and abbreviated solo auditions for each ensemble member.

 

Graduate Programs

Master of Music

The Master of Music (MM) degree program is a two-year curriculum that includes coursework in music theory, composition, and music history which supports the student’s development as a performer.  A Master of Music student may also elect to take pedagogy coursework through the Colburn Teaching Fellows program. Students must have completed a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent prior to enrolling. Students completing this program are prepared for further graduate study at the doctoral level or for employment within the profession. It is possible to be admitted to the MM as a member of an existing chamber group into the Graduate Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence program.
 

Artist Diploma

The Artist Diploma (AD) program focuses on the development of highly- skilled performing musicians. The AD is a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years in length, with a minimum requirement of four recitals.  Students must have completed a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent to enroll in the Artist Diploma. Students completing this program are prepared for further study at the post-graduate level or for employment within the profession. In addition to performance, there is a Chamber Music emphasis within the Artist Diploma to which a student may be admitted. See Graduate Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence for details of this emphasis.
 

Professional Studies Certificate

The Professional Studies Certificate (PSC) program emphasizes professional and pre-professional activities outside of the Colburn School. It is designed for students seeking intensive training in their applied area, often with specific goals in mind (such as preparation for competitions or auditions). Students are not required to have completed a baccalaureate degree but must have completed an undergraduate diploma or certificate to matriculate. Students completing this program are prepared for employment within the profession.

Undergraduate Programs

professor with class

Bachelor of Music

The Bachelor of Music (BM) degree program is a four-year curriculum focusing on the development of highly-skilled performing musicians. Academic requirements include courses in music theory, ear training, music history, and the humanities. BM students perform solo recitals in the junior and senior years. Students completing this program are prepared for graduate study at the master’s level or for employment within the profession.
 

Performance Diploma

The Performance Diploma (PD) is a four-year curriculum designed for the student who has not yet completed a bachelor’s degree, but who has a busy pre-professional performance life which requires more flexibility than is possible in the Bachelor of Music program. Academic requirements are limited to courses in music theory and ear training. Students completing this program are prepared for study at the diploma or certificate level, for a Bachelor of Music degree, or for employment within the profession. PD students present solo recitals in the junior and senior years. The PD program also supports students who need extra time to solidify their English language skills prior to enrolling in the BM degree program.