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Performer-Composer Requirements

BFA and MFA Requirements

Applicants to the BFA and MFA Performer-Composer Programs should follow all guidelines for both the Composition Program and the Programs in Performance. The minimum of three works demonstrating your performance abilities should include at least one substantial piece chosen from traditional repertoire and at least two original compositions. The original works should also demonstrate how you integrate your performing and composing skills. Applicants may fulfill these requirements either through an online submission or a live audition.

General Online Submission Guidelines

CalArts uses an online submission system. The online system accepts MP3's, documents, images and video. Once your submission is uploaded, it can be viewed and rearranged until the final submission is made. No changes can be made following the final submission. If applying to more than one program, there is a fee for each submission you make through the online system. Be sure to submit to the correct degree level and program. If you experience technical difficulties, you can send an e-mail to support@slideroom.com for technical support.

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

The application process for the DMA Performer-Composer Program consists of two sequential stages. Stage I comprises CalArts' standard application plus an online portfolio submission. Applicants selected to advance to Stage II will be notified in February and will be invited to the CalArts campus for an audition in March. Not all applicants will advance to Stage II.

Stage I: Portfolio Materials

  • A curriculum vitae
  • An artist’s statement describing your artistic practices, how you contextualize your work, and your overall artistic and professional goals. This should be no longer than 700 words and should incorporate a project proposal that describes what you would like to accomplish at CalArts, including topics of exploratory focus and proposed events/projects.
  • Documentation of at least three (but no more than five) works that represent your recent creative concerns and state of artistic development, in whatever media are most appropriate.
  • A sample of your analytical, theoretical, historical, philosophical, or critical writing that possesses a scholarly tone
  • If possible, you should upload a teaching portfolio incorporating representative instructional materials that you have used and a list of subject areas in which you would feel qualified to teach (including private lessons).
  • Three letters of reference addressing your potential for high artistic achievement as a performer-composer, aptitude for research, and promise as an educator (Letters of recommendation should be uploaded with your online application, not your online portfolio submission.)

Stage II: On-Campus Audition

Applicants who have advanced to this stage of the application process will be invited to visit CalArts’ campus during the month of March. Visiting applicants will participate in the following activities.

  • A performance, including substantial examples of the applicant’s original work as a performer-composer
  • A 20-minute teaching demonstration aimed at a sophomore (second-year undergraduate) audience and addressing a topic that does not represent the applicant's primary area of creative or scholarly research
  • An interview with the DMA Admissions Committee

Learn more about the program, faculty, facilities and view and listen to student work.

Last edited by mryan on Jan 10, 2017
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