Welcome to the keyboard area at Colorado State University, where excellence in the pursuit of musical expression, technical mastery, and artistry in performance is our primary goal. As a pianist or an organist, you will be guided in your performance study by a gifted team of artist-teachers, performers, and internationally recognized scholars in the field. Pianists and organists relish the unusual amount of individual attention and focus on keyboard study they receive at Colorado State University in private lessons, weekly master classes, departmental recitals, keyboard literature classes, liturgical music studies, or classes in chamber music, improvisation and pedagogy. Also, keyboard students enjoy numerous performance opportunities and other musical experiences at Colorado State University. At the heart of every pianist is an intense love of the instrument, its touch, its vast repertoire, and its seemingly inexhaustible capacity for expression.

This is mirrored in the words of the great pianist and composer, Franz Liszt:

"My piano is to me what his vessel is to the seaman, his horse to the Arab, nay, even more, 'til (sic) now it has been myself, my speech, my life. It is the repository of all that stirred my nature in the passionate days of my youth. I confided to it all my desires, my dreams, my joys and my sorrows. Its strings vibrated to my emotions and its keys obeyed my every caprice."

In the keyboard area, emphasis is placed upon growth of the individual student, with excellence in applied instruction constantly reinforced by practical experience in the public performance of solo, chamber, and concerto repertoire. Weekly private lessons and performance classes on Steinway grands culminate in solo public recitals in the junior and senior years, and opportunities to appear as soloists with orchestra are provided through the annual Concerto Competition. Experience in accompanying is gained throughout the four years of undergraduate study through class instruction and laboratory experience in the vocal and instrumental studios. Ear training skills and improvisation are honed through piano labs and improvisation classes, and pedagogic techniques are learned and practiced through the supervision of beginning and intermediate pedagogy classes.

Audition Requirements

Undergraduate Audition

  • Two contrasting pieces: A movement of a classical sonata (Mozart, Haydn, or Beethoven), a work form the 19th century (e.g., Chopin Prelude, Nocturne, or Fantasy Impromptu; Brahms Intermezzo, etc.) a Bach Invention or Prelude & Fugue from the WTC, an Impressionistic work (Debussy Prelude or Ravel piece), or 20th Century (Bartok, Ginastera, Gershwin, etc.).
  • Scales: major and minor
  • Sight reading: Level of vocal arias, hymns, etc.


Master of Music, Performance Option

  • Students should audition with repertoire comparable in difficulty to that performed on the senior recital of a Bachelor of Music performance degree in piano (Level VII of the Keyboard Area Guidelines).
  • All major and minor scales and arpeggios
  • Sight reading
  • Repertoire from three stylistic periods similar to the following:
    • Baroque, e.g., A Prelude and Fugue by Bach; a movement from a French Suite, English Suite, or Partita; Italian Concerto.
    • Classical, e.g., One movement from a sonata or concerto by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven, such as Mozart K. 310, Beethoven Opus 81a.
    • Romantic:, e.g., a Chopin Ballade, Scherzo, or Sonata; Brahms Opus 118 or 119; Liszt Vallee d'Obermann; Schubert late Sonatas.
    • 20th century and Contemporary, e.g., Debussy Images Suite I or II, Ravel Miroirs, Prokofiev Sonatas, Barber Nocturne.

Piano and B.M. in Music Education

Pianists may audition for the keyboard faculty for the B.M. Music Education degree program as either choral-track or instrumental-track. Piano will be considered as their principal instrument on which they will pursue applied study. Piano applicants must also interview with the Music Education area to be considered for the B.M. Music Education degree program, and should have experience as a performing member of one or more large, secondary music ensembles to receive consideration for admittance into the degree program.

Organ and Liturgical Studies

The Keyboard Area includes a comprehensive program in Organ and Liturgical Studies. Click here for more information.

Study With

Janet Landreth

Professor of Music; Piano; Coordinator of Keyboard Studies


(970) 491-6880

Denise Favela Apodaca

Special Teaching Appointment; Music Appreciation; Coordinator of Piano Proficiency


Tim Burns

Instructor of Music; Supervisor of Piano Accompanying


(970) 491-3244

Joel Bacon

Associate Professor of Music; Organ; Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair in Organ and Liturgical Studies


(970) 491-2431

Keyboard Events

Bryan Wallick, Horowitz Gold Medalist

August 2, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Bryan Wallick is gaining recognition as one of the great American virtuoso pianists of his generation. Gold medalist of the 1997 Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in Kiev, he has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Mr. Wallick made his New York recital debut in 1998 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and [...]

Virtuoso Series Concert: Saxophone Sonatas: Classic and Contemporary, Peter Sommer, Saxophone

September 9, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Featuring faculty artist Tim Burns, Piano In preparation for a tour later this fall, CSU faculty artists Peter Sommer and Tim Burns present an evening of saxophone sonatas from the golden age of concert saxophone to the present, including works by Fernande Decruck and Edison Denisov, as well as CSU Composer-in-Residence James David's new work, [...]

Virtuoso Series Concert, Barbara Thiem, Cello

September 30, 2019 at 7:30 PM
With Theresa Bogard, Piano Theresa Bogard and Barbara Thiem present duos by Benjamin Britten and Francis Poulenc.