The College of Arts and Architecture

Performing Opportunities

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As a student at Penn State, your performances reflect not only your own work, but that of your studio teacher; in many ways, you serve as an ambassador for the School of Music, and even for Penn State itself. You must inform your teacher of every public performance you undertake. Generally, your teacher will want to work with you on material you are performing.  Students tracking performance degrees (BM, BMA, MM) are required to audition for all curricular performance opportunities; this includes auditioning every semester for opera productions, as well as other appropriate solo opportunities.  Furthermore, students are required to accept roles as cast and to fulfill all associated obligations (performances and rehearsals).  

Representative opportunities for performance are listed below:

1.  Voice Forum

The voice studios meet every Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 110, Music Building I.  Students are expected to perform every semester in this masterclass-like setting.  Occasionally guest artists will perform or make presentations during this time.   Please check the voice area bulletin board for the specific schedule and sign-up sheets. 

2.  Common Hour

With their instructor's permission, students may request to perform on this School of Music concert held every Friday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Esber Recital Hall. Assignment of performing dates are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Request forms are available in the School of Music office.

3. Bach's Lunch

These concerts take place every Thursday during the semester at 12:10 pm in Eisenhower Chapel. The Voice Area uses these concerts to promote our singers and to help them have regular performing experience. 

4. First Thursdays

These student concerts are scheduled on the first Thursday of every month during the fall and spring semesters, and are held at The Village at Penn State retirement community.  Transportation is provided.

5. Scholarship Competition

All undergraduate students with a 3.0 grade point average in their first through fourth year of study in music are eligible, and students must have at least one year of undergraduate study in music remaining. Students must be nominated by a School of Music Faculty member.  The competition is held every spring.

6. Concerto Competition

Following the December voice area juries, a maximum of three singers are nominated by the voice area faculty to compete for the opportunity to perform with the Penn State Philharmonic on one of their spring semester concerts.  Winners are selected by audition, normally held at the end of January.

7. Graduate Exhibition 

The Graduate Exhibition in Performance, held in March, showcases graduate students pursuing degrees in music and theatre in presentations crafted for a general audience.

8. Choral Ensembles

Solo opportunities happen regularly in choirs. Be certain to inform your voice teacher if you are offered the opportunity to audition or sing.

9. Opera Theatre and Acting For Singers

The Penn State Opera Theatre is an auditioned ensemble that offers a number of performance opportunities, mainly full-length operas, presented in staged, workshop, or concert settings. 

Acting For Singers is a performance techniques class that culminates in a final performance of staged songs, arias, and scenes from opera and light opera.

10. School of Theatre

Many auditions in theatre are open to all students. Watch for announcements in the Theatre Building or check the School of Theatre Virtual Callboard:

11. Thespians

This long-established student-run organization presents musicals twice a year. Auditions are required.

12. Non-Curricular Groups

Often, students at Penn State have begun their own performance groups. Participation in this kind of performance is encouraged as long as it does not impact negatively on your curricular accomplishments.