Graduating high school seniors who have been accepted in a conservatory or school of music for the fall term for the purpose of pursuing a career in some form of classical music. Applicants must be full-time residents of the Berkshire Taconic region.


The Ferris Burtis Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by two men who devoted their lives to music. With the cost of education ever on the rise, this scholarship is designed to aid and encourage young musicians of talent as they prepare for careers in classical music.

John Ferris, a graduate of Michigan State University, was for 32 years the organist and choirmaster of Harvard University until his retirement to Sandisfield, Massachusetts in 1990. He taught organ and conducting at Boston University, lectured at the Harvard Divinity School, and conducted The Cantata Singers, a professional chorus in Boston. He was musical editor of the 1964 Harvard University Hymnal and choir director of the Congregational Church of Colebrook, Connecticut, and taught piano in his home studio.

Herbert Burtis, a graduate of Columbia University, gained international renown as a pianist, organist, and teacher of voice. He performed throughout Europe, the West Indies, and the United States. He was the author of several books on singing and a treatise on the piano methods of Theodor Leschetitzky. His vocal students perform at the Metropolitan Opera Company, the New York City Opera Company, and in opera houses and with symphony orchestras throughout the world.


For the Ferris Burtis Scholarship, please complete your common application by sending an audio or video file (or link to an online file) to grants@berkshiretaconic.org containing one of the following:

Piano (15 minutes of music)

  • A work by JS Bach
  • An allegro movement from a sonata by Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven
  • An impressionist or contemporary work

Voice (15 minutes)

  • Classical songs and/or arias from various musical periods in more than one language
  • An allegro movement from a classical sonata
  • A romantic period or impressionist period composition

Wind or String Instruments (15 minutes of music)

  • An allegro movement from a classical sonata
  • A romantic period or Impressionist period composition

Organ (15 minutes of music)

  • A major work by JS Bach
  • A 19th century work
  • A contemporary worK


  • Quality of applicant’s performance
  • Efforts and ambitions to pursue their music and life goals

Financial Need

The fund will support a small number of students at a significant level. The fund supports scholarship tuition and related educational expenses throughout the student’s time in college and supports costs associated with developing a career in classical music for up to three years after graduation.

Apply for this scholarship using our common application by March 15.