Masterclasses & Competitions

Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, works with Neerav Kumar '22)
Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, works with Neerav Kumar '22)


There is nothing more inspiring for a young musician than learning directly from the world’s best performers. The Donna Weng Friedman ’80 Master Class Series offers a regular series of masterclass each year in which professional musicians work with Princeton University students in a format that is open to the public. Recent participants have included Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s principal flutist Elizabeth Mann, and violinist Jennifer Koh.

In addition, artists appearing as part of the Princeton University Concerts series often offer masterclasses for Princeton University students during their visits to campus. These have included conductor Gustavo Dudamel, opera star Joyce DiDonato, and pianist Richard Goode.

Student participants in masterclasses are selected by the appropriate Program Director in consultation with Studio Faculty.  To express interest in participating in an upcoming Masterclass, please contact your Studio Faculty Member.  For further questions on Masterclasses, please contact the Program Manager for Performance Activities.

Auditions for MPP 213: Projects in Instrumental Performance: Chamber Music

In this instrumental chamber music class, students are guided by a member of studio performance faculty through work(s) of the 17th-21st centuries. For Spring 2023, ensembles admitted to this class will coach regularly with assigned studio faculty, participate in two masterclasses led by members of So Percussion (ensemble in residence in the Princeton Department of Music) on March 8 & April 26, 2023, and perform the prepared work(s) in a public concert on May 3, 2023.

Auditions for this class are now closed for Spring 2023. For questions about how to participate in future semesters, please contact Katie Baltrush, Program Manager for Performance Activities.

Concerto Competitions

The Princeton University Orchestra (“PUO”) and Sinfonia’s annual concerto competitions provide solo artists with a chance to perform in concert with a full orchestra on the renowned Richardson Auditorium stage.

The Princeton University Orchestra‘s annual concerto competition, offers all currently-enrolled Princeton University students a chance to perform as a soloist with the ensemble—an internationally-recognized orchestra of over 100 undergraduate and graduate student musicians, conducted by Maestro Michael Pratt. Students do not have to be members of the Orchestra to participate in the competition.

The competition takes place in two rounds, judged by distinguished members of the Northeastern musical community. During the 15-minute preliminary round judges can ask for any section(s) from the concerto, which must be prepared in its entirety. No more than six finalists pass into a final round in which each participant will have a maximum of 30 minutes to play.

In order to participate in the competition, students must be active in the musical life of the university community in one of the officially recognized ensembles (i.e. an orchestral or chamber music player, or a member of a choral group); and present a signed statement from their private teacher confirming the student’s readiness to perform the proposed work in public. Any winner(s) from the previous year may not compete. Please contact Katie Baltrush, Program Manager for Performance Activities, for information about the 2023 Concerto Competition.

Competition winners Haeun Jung, Violin and Katie Liu, Viola perform Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 364

Early each spring semester, the Princeton University Sinfonia holds a concerto competition that is open to its members. Students audition with accompaniment on a pre-approved movement from concerto repertory. The audition is generally held in early to mid February, and the winner performs as a soloist with the Sinfonia in May at Richardson Auditorium. For more information, contact Sinfonia’s Director Ruth Ochs.

Graduate student Abraham Chien performs Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26: III. Finale