Orchestral Studies Diploma

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Originated by the Eastman School in 1999, and in partnership with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), the Orchestral Studies Diploma in Strings (OSD) provides advanced students of violin, viola, violoncello, or double bass an edge as they prepare for careers in today’s competitive orchestral marketplace.

Those accepted as orchestral graduate students gain on-stage professional playing experience and a deeper understanding of the orchestra’s offstage operations.

The heart of the program is the opportunity to perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for ten weeks of classical subscription concerts. In addition, orchestral graduate students learn the “business” side of what makes an orchestra succeed. They enroll in special classes taught by Eastman faculty and RPO musicians and staff, and serve an internship in the RPO’s administrative office.

The 16 credit diploma is available to students enrolled in the Eastman MM or DMA program.

How will the diploma help my career?

Orchestral graduate students learn more repertoire, work with major conductors, and polish performance skills by playing alongside professionals. Students also gain professional management experience by working on essential “behind the scenes” operations – such as concert programming, personnel management, development, and educational services.

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Diploma Requirements

  • Ten weeks per year of service as a player with the RPO for classical subscription concerts performing major works in the symphonic repertoire. (Players must join the Rochester Musician’s Association, A. F. M. Local #66.) Each week of service includes four rehearsals and two performances.
  • Courses that rigorously explore trends and issues facing symphony orchestras, such as “Win an Orchestral Audition.”  Other courses deepen the student’s working knowledge of such areas as career skills, and fund-raising and development.
  • Courses in orchestral repertoire and studio lessons with Eastman faculty.
  • Management internship with RPO

Orchestral Studies Diploma Curriculum

ORC 420 RPO Practicum (playing in the RPO for 2 cr. hrs/semester) 4 credit
ORC 421 RPO Management Internships
(1 full academic year)
(required but noncredit courses; no tuition charge)
0 credit
ENS 251/451 Orchestral Repertoire
(2 cr. hr/semester)
4 credits
ALC 232 Win an Orchestral Audition (required; no tuition charge for ALC course) 2 credits
Orchestral Studies required electives
6 credits
A minimum of 3 credits must come from the Arts Leadership Curriculum.  Courses may vary from half-semester ALP-type seminars to typical 3-credit hour academic courses. 2 credit hours of chamber music may be applied to the elective requirement.
Final Jury Examination (mock orchestral audition)
Student must have completed at least one semester of Orchestral Repertoire Class at the time of the Jury.
0 credit
16 credits

Credit for courses in which a grade lower than “C” has been earned will not be counted towards the 16 credit requirement. Credits earned at another institution may not be transferred or applied towards the Orchestral Studies Diploma. Orchestral Studies Elective credits received at ESM before admittance to the OSD program may still be applied towards the elective requirement, with the permission of the Graduate Dean and the OSD Director.

Graduate Policy on Arts Leadership Program Course Credits
All graduate students can take Arts Leadership Program (ALP) courses for free by registering at the ALC 400 level. Graduate students in certain instances may also wish or be required to register for other than the ALC 400 level and pay regular tuition charges.  Visit the Graduate Policy on ALP Course Credits page to find further details on whether or not a course may be used to fulfill certificate, diploma, or degree requirements.

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How To Apply

Complete the application form for the Orchestral Studies Diploma. Applicants are chosen by audition. The audition will consist of a solo plus required orchestral excerpts.

Download the OSD application form OSD Application, complete it, and send it along with your resume to the address listed below by September 6th. The list of audition repertoire and excerpts can be obtained online here. Follow the instructions and you will be able to print the excerpts.

You will be notified by the Office of Academic Affairs when your OSD audition will be held. The date will be Saturday, September 10th.

For additional information please contact:

Academic Affairs Office
26 Gibbs Street
Rochester, NY 14604
Main Phone 585.274.1020
Fax 585.276.2150

Coordinator of the Orchestral Studies Diploma
Associate Professor of Strings – Orchestra Repertoire
Assistant Principal, Cello, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Kathleen Murphy Kemp

Orchestral Studies Diploma Administrative Assistant

Senior Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs
Donna Brink Fox

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Required Audition Excerpts and Handbook

PDF Document Required Excerpts for the OSD Auditions

OSD HANDBOOK (coming soon)

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