Grand Piano

MFA in Piano Performance, Recording and Contemporary Career Development

The Ultimate One-Year Practical Experience for Modern Pianists


How does it work?

The Low-Residency Option is designed to provide students with the exact same course curriculum content as in the full-time MFA programme, with the difference being that the students can elect to have their one-on-one private lessons with a teacher in the city of their residence, or they can elect to do a combination of one-on-one lessons with a teacher in the city of their residence, combined with synchronous and asynchronous online lessons with other faculty members of The Piano Conservatory.


Students will be required to visit to Bulgaria for their Major Project Concerto Experience during the summer months (June, July and August), where they will also avail of masterclasses and intensive modules that will be delivered live. The remainder of the programme's modules will be delivered via asynchronous and synchronous online classes.


This Low-Residency Option will allow students to complete an MFA without having to interrupt their lives for a year. This option is particularly advantageous to those students who may be in a teaching (or other) position but require a higher degree for their career advancement, and for those that cannot, for one reason or another, take a year out of their lives for full-time MFA study.

Interested in more information? Submit the form:

Dr. Svetlana Smolina

Program Director

Acclaimed Russian solo and concert pianist, Director of Piano at the Philadelphia International Music Festival

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Students from the United States can request information about Financial Aid at
  • The world does not need yet another common-practice piano degree. The Piano Conservatory at the European Academy of Fine Arts has designed an innovative new programme with a tutorial staff of world-renowned classical pianists, contemporary jazz pianists, conductors, recording & mix engineers, music producers and visionaries.

  • A core objective of this Master of Fine Arts degree programme is to address the contemporary needs of the performing and recording artist in our digital age. Students will master the art of recording, editing, mixing and mastering the audio and video components of their rehearsals and performances, and discover the potential for exploitation of their unique musical identity to the global marketplace.

  • The final Masters project culminates with a live performance of a piano concerto with symphony orchestra. These performances, together with the student's final solo recital, are professionally recorded [multi-track multi-cam HD audio and video], mixed and mastered for inclusion in the student's professional portfolio. 

9 Module Catalogue

Module 1: Solo Piano

(6 credits)

Svetlana Smolina, Module Leader

Study piano from anywhere on the planet with our elite group of esteemed piano faculty.

Module 2: Teaching Pedagogy
(6 credits)

Svetlana Smolina, Module Leader

Learn integral components of effective piano teaching pedagogy. To teach is to learn is to grow.

Module 3: Comping and
Cross-Style Versatility (6 credits)

Mike Lang, Module Leader

Equip yourself to handle any gig, including comping & accompanying  contemporary singers / instrumentalists.

Film Scoring Masters, Piano Masters, Composition Competition

Module 4: Career Development, Promotion and Programming
(6 credits)

Module Leader TBA

Getting the gig: learn modern strategies of marketing, effective self-promotion and online presence.

Module 5: Piano Recording, Mixing and Videography
(3 credits)

Debbie Smith, Module Leader

In this age of technology, it's not enough to just play. Master how to mic, record, mix, and edit your audio and video footage.

Module 6: Chamber Ensemble Performance & Advanced Listening Techniques (3 credits)

Module Leader TBA

Discover a higher level of musical awareness, communication & sight reading skills through immersion and practice. 

Module 7: The Art of Operatic Accompaniment

(3 credits)

Module Leader TBA

Refine the subtle intricacies of accompanying vocalists, instrumentalists and ensembles. 

Module 8: Solo Recital
(3 credits)

Svetlana Smolina, Module Leader

Perform a solo piano recital. (Programming agreed upon in conjunction with our faculty.)

Module 9: Major Project,

Concerto Performance
(18 credits)

Svetlana Smolina, Module Leader

A unique opportunity: perform the concerto of your choice with a professional symphony orchestra.

Total Credits: 54


Six merit-based scholarships offered to qualifying students as determined by the Admissions Board.

No additional scholarship applications. All accepted students are automatically considered for scholarships.

Sergei Rachmaninoff Scholarship

The Admissions Board will grant the "Sergei Rachmaninoff Scholarship" to an accepted student in Spring 2021. Submit the program deposit before January 1st, 2021 to qualify.



Clara Schumann Scholarship

The Admissions Board will grant the "Clara Schumann Scholarship" to an accepted student in Spring 2021. Submit the program deposit before February 1st, 2021 to qualify.



Edvard Grieg Scholarship

The Admissions Board will grant the "Edvard Grieg Scholarship" to an accepted student in Spring 2021. Submit the program deposit before March 1st, 2021 to qualify.



Ludwig van Beethoven

The Admissions Board will name an annual "Ludwig van Beethoven Scholarship" recipient in Spring 2021.



W. A. Mozart

The Admissions Board will name an annual "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Scholarship" recipient in Spring 2021.



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Scholarship

The Admissions Board will name an annual "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Scholarship" recipient in Spring 2021.



Additional Program Information

Tuition & Fees

Total Course Tuition: €30,450 Payment Schedule Program Deposit: €2,000 (Due to enroll) Tuition Downpayment: €4,000 (Due June 1, 2021) Payment 1: €8,450 (Due September 1, 2021) Payment 2: €8,000 (Due December 1, 2021) Payment 3: €8,000 (Due March 1, 2022) Financial Aid Programs: USA: FAFSA - Norway: Lanekassen - Colombia: Colfuturo -

Academic Calendar

2021-2022 Academic Calendar Semester 1 Sept. 6, 2021 -- Semester 1 commences Nov. 25-26 -- Thanksgiving Holiday Dec. 10 -- Final day of classes Dec. 11 -- Winter break Semester 2 Jan. 10, 2022 -- Semester 2 begins Mar. 17 -- St. Patrick's Day Holiday May 13 -- Final day of classes May 31 -- Semester 2 ends Semester 3 - Presence in Sofia required Jun. 1, 2022 -- Semester 3 commences, arrival in Sofia, Bulgaria August 31 -- Semester 3 ends (Sofia Departure within 90 days of arrival)

Do I need a Visa for the Low-Residency Option?

For most students, the answer to this question will be No. Students will be required to be present in Sofia for the summer months (June, July, August) but will not stay past the 90-day tourist vist limit. Students who are passport holders from countries that are permitted to travel to Bulgaria without a visa will not need to apply for any sort of visa. They can simply travel via their passport. Students who are passport holders from countries that are not permitted to travel to Bulgaria without a visa will be required to acquire a visa that will cover their required time in the country.

Application Requirements

Submitting your application for The Piano Conservatory's full-time MFA Program is simple; please click here. Application Requirements:

  • video examples of you playing or performing three (3) different pieces of contrasting styles (these need to be uploaded to a video streaming service such as YouTube or Vimeo so that you can insert links into your application for the Admissions Board to view)
  • 1-page Letter of Interest, detailing why you are a viable candidate to be considered by the Admissions Board for the MFA Program
  • copies (Image or PDF) of any music degrees / certifications you have earned
  • CV / Resume (PDF format)

European Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia is an Instructional Site of Irish American UniversityIAMU is an accredited institution of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the organisation that accredits The Juilliard School, The Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York Academy of Art, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, West Point United States Military Academy, and more.

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© 2020 European Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia

Film Scoring Academy of Europe

ul. "Hristo Kovachev" 34

1527 Sofia Center, Bulgaria