Master of Fine Arts in Musical Performance

The focus of a conservatory, the depth of a university

No new enrollment will be accepted into the Master of Fine Arts in Musical Performance after September 1, 2016.

The MFA in Musical Performance comprises an intensive, professional-level training ground for performers in opera, musical theatre and concert performance, with available studies in composing and pedagogy. An integrated curriculum of individual instructions, classes, workshops and performance requirements prepares the qualified student of the career realities in the performing arts.

The faculty and visiting master teachers are established professionals, with performance and directing credits on stages from Broadway to New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall. This outstanding faculty of accomplished individuals works as an unified team, coordinating our work in the various disciplines, with the common goal of mentoring and providing the best possible training to the next generations of performing arts.

Performance opportunities throughout the year include opera and musical theatre productions, concerts, cabarets and recitals by students, faculty and visiting artists. A single season’s production will range from performances of Chicago and RENT to The Marriage of Figaro and Dialogues of the Carmelites. New works by professional and student composers are encouraged, workshopped and presented under the guidance of faculty composers and directors.

The NDNU MFA programs are integrated into professional performance companies through partnerships with San Francisco’s Pocket Opera and affiliations with Bay Area musical theatre and concert organizations. These affiliations provide apprenticeship and performing opportunities for qualified students as performers, coach-accompanist, and performance staff in a professional environment.

The intensive summer Music Theatre Conservatory offers students a six-week course of study in performance and audition skills for the lyric theatre in the company of participants accepted by audition from across the country.

NDNU and Music Theatre Conservatory alumni are performing on Broadway, national tours and international opera festivals; winning awards as musical and stage directors for Bay Area theatres, and directing award-winning music and musical theatre programs for Bay Area schools.

See the NDNU General Catalog for program requirements and course descriptions.

Admission Requirements

NDNU admits students throughout the year for fall, spring and summer semesters. Please visit Admissions for complete admission requirements. MFA in Musical Performance students are admitted to the program through audition and interview in addition to the university’s standard application and acceptance process. An undergraduate degree in the major is not required, but competencies and knowledge in all prerequisite areas are determined through an audition, an interview and a placement evaluation at entrance to the program.


Graduate Admissions

Debra Lambert
Chair, Department of Music and Vocal Arts