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Artist Diploma in Orchestral Studies

-Strings Only-


The San Francisco Academy Orchestra's Artist Diploma Program is designed to offer an intensive one-year fellowship that focuses solely on the practical skills necessary to prepare for auditions and a career in orchestral music. Coursework includes weekly private instruction, weekly group excerpt classes, master classes, mock auditions, and the opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside members of the San Francisco Symphony. Completion of two curriculum sessions will result in the Academy Orchestra's Artist Diploma in Orchestral Studies and potentially the Academy Prize in recognition of one musician who demonstrates outstanding artistry.




$4,900 (US) Per Semester

Financial Aid Available


Applications Due April 1st.

Classes begin in October

Application Checklist


--Program Application (PDF)

--Financial Aid Application (PDF)


--$100 non-refundable application fee

--Video of two contrasting orchestral excerpts

and a concerto exposition

(accompaniment not required)

Please send Applications to:




San Francisco Academy Orchestra

PO Box 591137, 

San Francisco, CA 94159

(415) 506-7139

You may pay your application fee below:

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Detailed Curriculum

---Weekly private instruction is the backbone of any music education. Academy Fellows meet almost weekly with their faculty instructor focusing solely on standard audition excerpts and the standard solo repertoire typically required at orchestra auditions. Planning the time and place of such sessions is the responsibility of both the fellow and the instructor. Academy Fellows are assigned a primary and sometimes a secondary faculty instructor.


---Weekly Monday classroom sessions over the course of the curriculum period consist mostly of excerpt classes under the guidance of faculty and guest artists. Academy Fellows are required to play at excerpt classes, which explore the appropriate technique and style necessary to achieve the musical goals of key orchestral passages. These sessions may include but not be limited to special guests, readings, solo classes, sectionals, and rehearsals to prepare for public concerts. They may also consist of the below described Master Classes or Mock Auditions.


---In the spirit and teaching philosophy of Franz Liszt, the Academy Orchestra makes master classes available to its fellows on some of the above described Mondays. Academy Fellows are encouraged to attend and perform in all master classes with other renowned orchestral pedagogues over the course of the curriculum period. While Academy Instructors offer certain views of orchestral material, it is also important for Academy Fellows to study other approaches to the same literature. As master class pedagogues come from a variety of musical backgrounds, Academy Fellows are exposed to other schools of thought challenging preconceived notions and facilitating musical individuality.


---The San Francisco Academy Orchestra's Artist Diploma Program  is one of the few programs that focus solely on orchestral audition repertoire. The Artist Diploma in Orchestral Studies is something  earned; therefore mock auditions serve as juries in evaluating the progress of each fellow. Mock auditions are held throughout the session, on the above described Mondays, and are overseen by the Academy Orchestra Faculty.


---In the tradition of the “Academy Experience,” Academy Fellows are required to perform in four concerts alongside members of the San Francisco Symphony over the course of one year. These concerts will require rehearsals toward the end of some weeks and culminate in Sunday concerts. 

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