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PhD, Music Performance and Composition: Performers

Combining intensive performance with related academic study, this doctoral program prepares accomplished musicians for a career in professional music performance or music research. You will study closely with our artist-faculty and develop areas of specialization for your performance or teaching career.   

A concentration is also available for composers.

Official Degree Title

PhD in Music Performance and Composition: Performers



Application Deadline

Fall Start:
December 1

Plan Code





Full-time or Part-time


Admissions Requirement

Basic competence in music theory and history is a prerequisite for all graduate degree programs in music. Entering graduate students are required to complete a music theory entrance exam and meet history coursework requirements. Based on exam results and review of the student's transcript, up to 8 points of remedial music theory and/or history coursework may be required. Remedial courses cannot be used to meet degree requirements. View more information about department music theory and history entrance requirements.

Candidates to this program must have a master's degree.

How to Apply

These instructions and requirements are for all applicants. If you are not a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, please read the special instructions for international applicants.

Your application will require the following items. The following are acceptable document types for uploads: .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .tiff, .png, .doc, .docx, and bitmap.

1. Prepare Your Application


You are required to upload a copy of your most recent résumé or curriculum vitae as part of your application.

Statement of Purpose

As part of your application, you are required to upload a statement of purpose that discusses your ideas for doctoral research, their context and potential impact, and argues how your expertise and interests make you the best candidate for pursuing this research. Please also identify the faculty member(s) that you are most interested in working with. The name of this faculty member, together with your name, should be included on the header of the statement. Maximum length: four pages. 

Letters of Recommendation

Submit three letters of recommendation. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline. Read detailed instructions.

Scholarly Writing

Please upload to the Writing Sample section of the application three research papers or writing samples that best represent your ability to research and write effectively. Ideally, one sample should address your proposed area of specialization.


For specific audition requirements and how to schedule an audition date after you have applied, contact your area of focus.

Brass: Doctoral candidates should contact Wayne du Maine, Director of Brass Studies, at for information about auditions and to schedule an audition. 

Jazz: There is no live audition for the PhD application in Jazz as the degree is research-based. We ask that applicants schedule a Zoom or phone interview with Dr. David Schroeder to discuss the application requirements, including portfolio of creative work. Additionally, Dr. Schroeder will discuss the PhD curriculum, including academic course work, and the dissertation process.

Percussion: Contact Jonathan Haas, and Sean Statser, to arrange your audition date and time (must be completed by January 22).

Piano: The program in Piano Studies requires a pre-screening video to be submitted via GetAcceptd , due no later than December 1. Selected candidates will be invited to a live audition and interview in mid-January 2024. For further information about the Ph.D., please contact Dr. Manuel Laufer,

For the pre-screening recording, please prepare a 60-minute free program showing technical, interpretive, and expressive strengths. Part of the repertoire should relate to a proposed area of research. The live audition should contain the same repertoire as the pre-screening video. 

Strings: The program in String Studies requires a pre-screening video to be submitted via GetAcceptd which is due no later than December 1. Invitations to live auditions will be sent approximately 2 -3 weeks after the due date. For further information about the Ph.D., please contact Dr. Cyrus Beroukhim,

Please prepare the following for your prescreen: 

  • Violin, Viola, and Cello: a movement of Bach and a movement of a concerto
  • Bass and Harp: two contrasting movements

Please prepare the following for your audition:

  • Complete concerto from the classical, romantic, or 20th century
  • Complete Bach Sonata, Partita, or Suite
  • Complete classical or romantic sonata or 20th century
  • Work composed after 1960

All works except the sonata must be memorized.

Vocal Performance: You are required to submit audition materials to the portfolio section of the online application. The audition requirements for the Music Theatre and Classical Voice areas of focus are the same requirements as for the Master's programs. Contact Dr. Errik Hood, for further details.  Vocal Performance 2024 Audition Dates:

  • Saturday, January 27, 2024 (10:00am-1:00pm)
  • Friday, February 2, 2024 (2:30-5:30pm)

Woodwinds: The program in Woodwind Studies requires a pre-screen video to be submitted via  GetAcceptd, that is due no later than December 1, 2023. Invitations to schedule a live audition will be sent no later than December 15. PhD live auditions and interviews will take place on Saturday, January 20, 2024. For further details please contact Dr. Meghan Bennett,

Please prepare the following for your pre-screen:

Two contrasting pieces

Oboe, Bassoon and Saxophone
Two standard etudes of contrasting styles 
Two standard orchestral excerpts

Two contrasting pieces showing the applicant's level of technical and lyrical ability

One short etude on each of your doubles

Please prepare the following for your audition:

Three complete works (including a work from 20th/21st century) representing a variety of styles

Oboe, Bassoon and Saxophone
Two movements of a sonata
First or last movement from a concerto and/or other virtuosic solo

A complete concerto (memorization encouraged but not mandatory) A contemporary work written after 1970
A work by a composer from underrepresented gender, racial, ethnic, or cultural heritages 
5-6 orchestral excerpts

One movement from a sonata on primary instrument 
One etude or excerpt on each of your doubles


Upload one official copy of transcripts from every postsecondary school you have attended or are attending. Make sure to request them in advance of the deadline.

If you completed or are completing a degree at an institution outside of the US or Canada, you are required to provide a WES or ECE evaluation. Please review our requirements for translation and a course-by-course evaluation of your transcripts.

See detailed instructions on submitting transcripts.


Not required.

Proficiency in English

2. Apply


Start your application now

After you fill in and upload the required information, you can submit your completed application. Your application must be completed, dated, electronically signed, and submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST of the stated deadline.

Application Fee

You will be prompted to pay a $75 application fee, payable by major credit card only. After submitting your payment, you will see your application status change from “saved” to “submitted.” Please print this screen for your records, as it confirms that your application has been successfully sent to our school. If you have problems submitting your payment, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions. Learn more about our fee waiver policy.

Mailing Additional Items

If any application materials need to be mailed to our office, mail the materials to NYU Steinhardt, Office of Graduate Admissions, 82 Washington Square East, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003-6680.  Please do not mail your materials in binders or folders. Any mailed materials must be received by, not postmarked by, the stated deadline. Only completed applications will be considered and reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Due to high volume, we are unable to confirm receipt of mailed materials.

3. Receive Your Admission Decision


You will be notified about your decision by email. Typically, decisions will start going out in late March or early April for fall enrollment. You may learn of your decision before or after this timeline.

Application Policies

Application deadlines are "in-office" deadlines, not postmark deadlines. It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials are in the Office of Graduate Admissions by the appropriate deadline, and we reserve the right to return any application that arrives after the deadline. Only completed applications will be considered. Should a deadline fall on a weekend, the in-office deadline will be the next business day. We advise you to apply early.

Please check the online system to confirm that you have successfully submitted your application. Due to the volume of applications and related materials received, the Office of Graduate Admissions will only contact you if your application was successfully submitted and is deemed incomplete because of missing required materials. Otherwise, you will hear from us when the admissions committee has made its decision.

Deferral policy: NYU Steinhardt does not allow deferrals. Applicants who wish to be considered for a future semester must reapply by submitting a new application with all supporting materials, including letters of recommendations, by the application deadline.