The Sydney Conservatorium Piano Unit draws its teaching staff from around the world and has a proud history that has included luminaries such as Laurence Godfrey Smith, Alexander Sverjensky, Isador Goodman, Gordon Watson and Nancy Salas. Our current teachers are performing and recording artists, international prize winners, jury members, lecturers and examiners.

Our students, too, have made their mark in major competitions and in the programs of the Australian National Academy of Music. Today, the Piano Unit’s Graduate Diploma, Master of Music and Doctoral programs attract increasing numbers of Australian and international students. Geoffrey Parsons, Richard Bonynge, and Roger Woodward are counted among our alumni.

In addition to individual lessons and chamber music, students may study accompaniment, early keyboard, orchestral piano and repetiteur work. Solo performance opportunities include weekly concert practise, concerts, and regular masterclasses given by pianists such as Pascal Rogé, Louis Lortie, Arnaldo Cohen, Joanna MacGregor, Peter Donohoe, Paul Lewis and Lang Lang.

Study Options

Piano Faculty

Audition Requirements

Audition DVD Recording
Where possible, you should attend a live audition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. If you are an interstate or international applicant and cannot attend in person, you may submit a video recorded audition through the application process. The recordings must be no older than six weeks at the time of dispatch. Audio-only recordings will not be accepted.


Music Skills Test
Since prior music skills development is essential for successful study at the Sydney Conservatorium, the Music Skills Test must be completed. The test is held at the Conservatorium during the audition/interview period and is designed to assess whether you have a sufficient level of music literacy in harmony and aural perception to cope with the demands of the course. As a guide, the minimum level of skills possessed should be at the level of the New South Wales Music 2 syllabus (formerly 2 Unit Music) or AMEB Level 6 Musicianship or equivalent. Results of the Music Skills Test supplement the information provided by other aspects of the audition process. If you are successful, the results also help to determine streaming in aural and harmony subjects.

If you are auditioning for piano at the Bachelor of Music (Performance) or Diploma of Music level, you should present the entire audition program from memory. Transfer to Piano Accompaniment may only follow successful completion of four semesters of study at the Bachelor of Music (Performance) or Diploma of Music level.

Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Diploma of Music

  1. A program of five works: J.S. Bach: a prelude and fugue from 48 Preludes and Fugues; a complete sonata by Clementi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert; a composition by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt (or similar romantic) or impressionist composer; a composition by a major 20th century composer (excluding Debussy, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Scriabin); and any virtuosic etude
  2. Sight reading
  3. Music Skills Test

Works or part thereof from this program will be selected by the audition panel.

Bachelor of Music (Music Education), Bachelor of Music Studies and combined degrees

  1. Prepared program: three contrasting works (at your current level or standard that includes a fast movement from a classical sonata)
  2. Sight reading
  3. Music Skills Test

Works or part thereof from this program will be selected by the audition panel.


All Postgraduate Degrees
You should prepare a 50-minute recital of freely chosen works which must include a major work of at least 20 minutes. All works should be performed from memory.

Examples of major works include:

  • Bach – any English suite, The Ouverture in the French Style BWV 831, The Goldberg Variations, The Art of Fugue
  • Beethoven – Sonatas Op 2 No 2, Op 2 No 3, Op 10 No 3, Op 28, Op 31 Nos 1, 2 or 3, Op 53, Op 57, Op 101, Op 106, Op 109, Op 110, Op 111. Eroica Variations, Diabelli Variations
  • Brahms – any sonata, Handel Variations, Paganini Variations
  • Chopin – any sonata
  • Liszt – Sonata in B Minor
  • Prokofiev – Sonatas Nos 6, 7, 8 or 9
  • Rachmaninov – Sonata No 1 or No 2
  • Ravel – Gaspard de la nuit, Miroirs, Le Tombeau de Couperin
  • Schubert – any sonata, Wanderer Fantasy
  • Schumann – Davidsbündlertänze, Carnaval, Symphonic Etudes, Kreisleriana, Fantasy, any sonata, Faschingsschwank aus Wien

This list is representative only. Any complete major work of a minimum 20-minute duration by any composer will be acceptable.