College application season is ramping up quickly and we here at Viola Central want to make sure that you know which colleges are the best for viola performance. Choosing the right viola college is an important step that can shape your career forever, so we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best viola colleges you should apply to.


Applying to Music School

music_image19 Top 10 Best Viola Colleges General Viola Reviews Before we get to the list, we wanted to first provide an overview of what you should expect when applying to music school for viola performance. There are two main parts to the application process, the online application and the audition. Generally, you will be required to submit an online application before you can even register for an audition. Increasingly, universities are requiring you to also submit a CD/DVD recording of you performing to make the pre-screening process smoother. Once you have submitted your application, you may sign up for an on-site audition. Obviously each university has different requirements, so make sure you check their website before you apply. has a great overview of the application and audition process. We highly recommend that you check them out!


Our Ranking Criteria

We looked at multiple ranking factors to determine our list of best viola colleges. These included: current viola faculty, strength of overall music program, and famous viola alumni.


The Best Viola Colleges

School Location Annual Tuition Notable Faculty
1.  New England Conservatory Boston. MA $44,300 Kim Kashkashian, Martha Katz
2. Curtis Institute of Music Philadelphia, PA Full Scholarship Roberto Díaz, Joseph De Pasquale, Michael Tree, Steven Tenenbom
3. Bard College-Conservatory of Music Annandale-On-Hudson, NY $47,560 Michael Tree, Steven Tenenbom, Ira Weller
4. Manhattan School of Music New York, NY $44,100 Lawrence Dutton
5. Rice University Shepherd School of Music Houston, TX $28,030 James Dunham, Ivo-Jan van der Werff
6. Juilliard School New York, NY $41,310 Robert Vernon, Michael Tree, and others
7. Colburn School Los Angeles, CA $12,500 Paul Coletti, Ben Ullery
8. Cleveland Institute of Music Cleveland, OH $49,106 Jeffrey Irvine, Robert Vernon
9. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Bloomington, IN $12,459 Atar Arad, Stephen Wyrczynski
10. Peabody Institute Baltimore, MD $44,122 Choong-Jin Chang, Richard Field, Victoria Chiang