EMF accepts up to 20 qualified pianists (ages 14 and up) for enrollment. The five-week program features formal instruction through private lessons, master classes, chamber music studies, and a variety of classes focusing on everything from technique to the history of the instrument.

Students perform on the weekly Young Artists Piano Recital Series which are open to the public.

Download the 2023 Piano Program Poster

Audition Requirements


Piano applicants must prepare the following:

  • One technical movement of your choice*
  • One slow movement of your choice* 
  • One work of your choice
  • The three works must be by different composers

*Etudes are recommended but not required.


Write a short biography (250 words or less) about yourself. This is not a resumé.

What To Expect

Private Study

EMF’s Piano Program is an intensive study with the Festival’s resident faculty and visiting artists. Young Artists work on repertoire already in progress and new repertoire, improving technique, and musicianship. Participants have ready access to pianos for daily practice and rehearsals.

Chamber Music & Ensembles [optional]

Students may be assigned to a variety of chamber music groups, orchestral parts, or piano ensemble study, or they may be selected to accompany other instrumentalists in sonata literature. All assignments are made at the discretion of the piano faculty. Chamber ensembles rehearse four times a week. Two of the weekly rehearsals are coached by EMF faculty artists. Ensembles perform on the Young Artists Chamber Music Recital Series and are often invited to perform off-campus at community outreach concerts.

Master Classes & Performance Classes

Each summer, pianists participate in master classes led by faculty and featured artists. Students also participate in weekly performance classes led by piano faculty, offering a supportive atmosphere for the development of performance skills.

Guest Artists

Eastern Music Festival features the world’s most sought-after artists and teachers, who work with students and perform as part of our acclaimed concert series. Past guest artists include musical legends like Midori, Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Heidi Castleman, Stefan Jackiw, Cynthia Phelps, Robert Vernon, Lynn Harrell, Edgar Meyer, Sir James Galway, the Canadian Brass, Evelyn Glennie, as well as alumni like Branford and Wynton Marsalis.

Concerto Competition

EMF holds a Concerto Competition and auditions are open to all Young Artists. Preliminaries are held on the second Sunday of the Festival; finals are held on the third Sunday. Memorization of the solo repertoire is required for the final round and the performance.

**NEW in 2023**

Pianists wishing to compete in the Concerto Competition must choose one of the selections below:

  • BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, op.37 (mvt. 1)
  • SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A minor, op.54 (mvt. 1)
  • PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, op.26 (mvt. 1)

➡️ See more information & past winners


Eastern Music Festival offers optional classroom instruction in several areas related to the performance and business of music that completes our rigorous program. Our classes and seminars give students an opportunity to converse with faculty about issues that every musician encounters throughout a professional career. Open dialogue and honest advice enhance students’ experiential learning.


Seminars are faculty-led sessions offered throughout the festival. These informal discussions allow students to learn from faculty experience and to exchange ideas about important issues of the profession. Topics have included: Mock Auditions, Leading a String Section, Chamber Ensemble Rehearsal Techniques, Injury Prevention, The 21st Century Musician, Practicing Tips, Conducting, Life as a Musician, Tai Chi, Yoga and Body Moveable.

Alexander Technique

A certified Alexander Technique instructor offers weekly classes for students, helping enhance instrumental performance by improving freedom of movement, balance, flexibility, and coordination. The fee for this course is $185, which includes three group sessions and four 30-minute private lessons. Students may schedule private Alexander Technique lessons outside of the class for $60 per hour. These private lessons are available to all students, whether or not they are enrolled in the class.

four students paling a grand piano

How To Apply

The deadline for receipt of completed applications and the audition recording is February 23, 2023 .


2023 Tuition, Room & Board, and Fees

Eastern Music Festival
$ 5,885
Five-Week Program
  • Tuition - $2,895
  • Room & Board - $2,615
  • Fees (Health, Activity, Cleaning, ID Card, Key, & Security) - $375

Attendance is required for the full five-week program (June 24 – July 29, 2023).

Decisions regarding admission and financial assistance will be made in April, and each applicant will be notified of acceptance by email.

Within ten days of acceptance, all students are required to pay a non-refundable $750 reservation deposit (applicable to tuition), plus complete all other information requested in the acceptance and reservation packet. Scholarship awards are forfeited if appropriate forms and reservation fees are not returned within ten days of acceptance.

Participants may be billed for documented damage/loss of Eastern Music Festival or Guilford College property. This includes lost music, ID cards, keys or destruction of property.

Tuition includes five one-hour private lessons.

The optional fee for Alexander Technique (course) is $185, or $60/hour for private lessons.

The balance of all tuition and fees is due and payable by May 15, 2023. All payments may be made by personal check, money order, MasterCard, VISA, Discover or American Express. There are no refunds after this date (except in the case of medical necessity), and any refunds prior to it are calculated minus the nonrefundable application fee and reservation deposit.

No deductions or refunds will be made for late arrival, early departure, or disciplinary separation from the Festival.


Each year, EMF provides talented young musicians merit and need-based scholarships to further their artistic development. Scholarship consideration is given only after the application and audition process is completed by the applicant. In 2022, EMF provided over $374,000 in assistance. While resources are limited, 80% of our 2022 students received some level of financial support.

All students are encouraged to apply to EMF, regardless of personal or family financial need; however, EMF recommends that students seek other possible sources of funding in their own communities first. Suggested sources of summer study scholarships include local youth orchestras and community music programs, area foundations which support the arts, and civic organizations which fund educational and student leadership programs.

All students, regardless of their financial award, must pay the $375 in fees [Health, Activity, Cleaning, ID Card, Key, Security].

PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete Financial Aid applications cannot be processed.

Merit scholarships are awarded based on the applicant’s audition and demonstrated level of artistic ability, in relation to the overall applicant pool. These awards are an acknowledgement of merit on the part of the applicant.

Work-study scholarships are awarded based on financial need. They help bridge the gap between the cost of EMF and the financial resources available to the applicant. A copy of the most recent Federal 1040 Tax Form is required by those requesting need-based scholarships. These scholarships require work-study and typically require three to ten hours of work per week and can include assignments in stage management, music library, ushering, and office work. Student preferences are considered in making assignments.

Campus Life

Guilford College

Guilford College has been EMF’s summer home for 57 years. Founded in 1837, Guilford College is known for its peaceful, tree-lined campus and its historic buildings. The campus is situated on the western edge of Greensboro, North Carolina, a city of 280,000 that is located 75 miles west of Raleigh-Durham, 90 miles northeast of Charlotte and halfway between Atlanta and Washington, DC.

Performance Venues

Guilford College’s Dana Auditorium, completed in 1961 and known for its excellent acoustics, is the primary performance hall for EMF concerts.

Student Chamber Recitals and most master classes take place in the Hege Library’s Carnegie Room.

Located in Guilford College’s Founders Hall, Sternberger Auditorium serves as a rehearsal space for orchestra.

EMF also performs at other venues throughout North Carolina’s Triad region and beyond.

Credit: Kelly Swindell for Eastern Music Festival


EMF students and counselors live in Guilford College residence halls, while faculty and some guest artists are housed in nearby campus apartments. Students are grouped by gender, and residence halls are separated by age. Meals are served in the college dining hall; laundry facilities are located in each residence hall, and all Guilford College facilities are air-conditioned. Summer staff members include a nurse, Dean of Students, an Associate Dean of Students, and counselors. The EMF Education Office, Dean of Students Office and Operations Offices are located on campus during the Festival.

Restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are located within a quarter-mile of campus. Students may use the college’s library and recreational facilities. Amenities include a weight room, racquetball, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.



Recreational and social activities are planned on a regular basis, both on and off campus. Popular on-site activities include Ultimate Frisbee, tennis, video games, foosball, pool and talent shows. Off-site activities such as movies and bowling are voluntary and may cost extra. Students are occasionally invited to receptions or functions with patrons and scholarship donors. Transportation is available for off-campus activities.

Credit: Julie Averette for Eastern Music Festival

“The Festival’s gorgeous surroundings and overall environment provide the perfect setting for young artists to develop and learn.”

Contact Admissions

Melissa M. Edwards, DMA
Director of Education

Phone: 336-333-7450, x227
Fax: 336-333-7454


Course offerings, faculty, visiting artists, fees, and other information are subject to change without notice. Eastern Music Festival is actively committed to a diverse student body and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, or physical disability in the administration of its educational policies and programs.