The Instrumental Awards for Chamber Music Scheme (IAS) enables students to participate in high-quality chamber music at the University. It is an intercollegiate scheme open to undergraduates and graduates at all Colleges.

Award holders comprise outstanding chamber musicians from across the University, and many follow in the footsteps of their predecessors to pursue professional careers as performers.

You apply to the scheme from 1 September and audition for places at the beginning of each academic year. The first round of solo repertoire is followed by a round of chamber music, before successful applicants are placed in groups. You can also be considered for a place in the flagship Cambridge University Orchestra through the same audition procedure.

From piano duos to string quartets and brass dectets, IAS ensembles play together over the course of a year (and often for the whole of award holders’ time at Cambridge), and their members are encouraged to develop long-term performing relationships together as chamber musicians.

Ensembles are coached regularly by leading specialist chamber musicians, including Margaret Faultless, Martin Outram, John Myerscough (and other members of the Doric Quartet), Melanie Ragge and Andrew West. Award holders have also received coaching from the Amatis Trio and have participated in masterclasses with the Emerson Quartet and composer Nico Muhly.

Award holders also receive financial assistance of up to £140 towards individual instrumental lessons plus an award of £100 from their college.

Regular performances enable students to develop musically as individuals and as chamber groups. The scheme provides opportunities for performances throughout the year, with selected groups chosen to perform in showcase concerts and special projects.

The Instrumental Awards Scheme is an intercollegiate scheme administered by the Centre for Music Performance.

Any questions?

Please make sure you read all the information on this page. If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at info@cmp.cam.ac.uk.

What does being an award holder involve, and how much time is required?

As an award holder you will be placed in an ensemble who you will work with for the rest of the year. Together with your ensemble, you will need to:

  • Arrange to meet two or three times a week (4–6 hours per week) during termtime to work on repertoire and improve your ensemble playing. We suggest you set up a regular time slot to rehearse together.
  • Attend six coaching sessions per year with guest professionals.
  • Give regular performances. You will need to arrange your own concerts (at least one in the first term and two in the second term) and may also be invited to perform in the showcase concerts and special projects.

We hope that as an Award Holder you will also play an active role in music-making within your college and across the University.

Students from all subjects can take part in the IAS, but it is worth considering how many hours a week you are willing and able to devote to your playing, and how a commitment to your chamber group will fit around your academic studies. Life at Cambridge is very busy (but rewarding!), and you do need to be organised in order to balance academic and IAS commitments.

Who can apply?

The IAS is open to both new and current students at all colleges, and you can apply in any or all years during your time at Cambridge.

What standard do I need to be?

You should have achieved at least Distinction at Grade VIII of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), or other equivalent qualification, to apply for the scheme. Successful candidates are usually of Associated Board Diploma standard or equivalent.

What instruments are eligible?

Players of the following instruments are eligible to apply:

Brass Keyboard Strings Wind
French horn*
Trombone
Trumpet
Tuba
Piano Cello
Double bass**
Guitar**
Harp**
Viola
Violin
Bassoon
Clarinet
Flute
Oboe

*French horn players will be considered for both wind and brass ensembles.
**Awards for these instruments are dependent on instrumental combinations in any given year. The managers reserve the right to offer associate membership. Associate members participate in one project and holders are entitled to half the benefits of a full award.

Applying on a historic instrument

The scheme also considers applications from period instrument players. If you are considering applying on a historical instrument, please contact info@cmp.cam.ac.uk at the earliest opportunity in advance of submitting your application.

How do I apply?

You need to complete an application form. Having received your application, we will invite you to audition.

Applications for 2024–25 open at 9am on 1 September and close at 9am on 22 September.

What if I want to apply for IAS and the orchestras?

If you want to apply to IAS only:

  • fill in the IAS application form by 22 September
  • you will be invited to a solo audition with professional auditioners (IAS Solo Round), and need to perform the set IAS solo repertoire
  • if you are successful at your solo audition, you will be invited for a group audition (IAS Chamber Round), and need to perform the set IAS chamber repertoire

If you want to apply to orchestra only:

  • fill in the orchestra application form by 5 October
  • you will be invited to a solo audition with student auditioners (Orchestra Round 1), and need to perform a piece of your own choice
  • if you are successful, you will be invited to a further solo audition with professional auditioners (Orchestra Round 2), where you need to perform:
    • a piece of your own choice
    • orchestral excerpts

If you want to apply to IAS and orchestra:

  • fill in the IAS application form by 22 September and make sure you tick the ‘orchestra’ box
  • you will be invited to a solo audition with professional auditioners (IAS Solo Round / Orchestra Round 2), and need to perform:
    • the set IAS solo repertoire
    • the orchestral excerpts
  • if you are successful at your solo audition, you will be invited for a group audition (IAS Chamber Round), and need to perform the set IAS chamber repertoire

What happens at the audition?

All instruments except piano

You will be invited to a solo audition, which will take place at West Road Concert Hall in early October and will play the set pieces which can be found in the ‘Set Repertoire 2024-25’ section below.

Piano only

If there is a large number of piano applicants, there may be an additional video round for pianists for which you will need to upload a video as part of your application.

All instruments

If successful in the first-round auditions, you will be invited back to the second-round audition at West Road Concert Hall in early October. You will be placed in chamber groups with other candidates, playing the set pieces of chamber repertoire (also found in the ‘Set Repertoire 2024-25’ section below). The auditioners will coach your ensemble or ask you to rehearse together.

The audition dates will be announced here by 1 June 2024.

Set repertoire 2024–25

Set repertoire changes every year. The 2024–25 repertoire is as follows.

  Round  2024-25  Links to sheet music in public domain (UK) 
Violin  1  JS Bach Violin partita No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 – Sarabande and it’s Double 

 

Ysaÿe Sonata for solo violin in A minor, Op.27 No.2 ‘Jacques Thibaud’ – Obsession; Prelude 

Bach Barenreiter edition available at imslp  

 

 

Ysaÿe edition available at imslp.  

2  Beethoven String quartet in F major, Op.18 no. 1 

First movement 

 

Beethoven Piano trio No.5 in D major, Op.70 No.1 ‘Ghost’ – first movement 

 
Viola  1  JS Bach Cello suite No.4 in E flat major (arr. for viola), BWV 1010 – Courante and Sarabande 

 

Hoffmeister 12 Etudes for Viola – no. 5 

Main page for BWV 1010 on imslp. 
Suggested viola edition available at imslp:Yokoyama (“For Viola (Yokoyama) Complete Score (without slurs)”). For slurs, please refer to theBarenreiter edition for cello (“Complete Score (Text I)” available at imslp.   

Hoffmeister unknown edition (early 19th century) available at imslp.  

2  Beethoven  String quartet in F major, Op.18 no. 1 

First movement 

 
Cello  1  Henze Serenade for solo cello – movements I, III, V, VII 

 

JS Bach Cello suite No.3 in C major, BWV 1009 – Courante 

Henze Not in public domain. Published by Schott, c.£12 topurchase from Boosey.  

 

Bach Barenreiter edition (“Complete Score Text I”) available at imslp 

2  Beethoven String quartet in F major, Op.18 no. 1 – first movement 

 

Beethoven Piano trio No.5 in D major, Op.70 No.1 ‘Ghost’ –  first movement 

 
Double Bass  1  Ellis Sonata for Unaccompanied Double Bass, Op.42  Not in public domain. Published by Yorke, c.£6 topurchase from Opus 13.  
Harp  1  Pierné Impromptu-caprice Op.9  Leduc edition available at imslp 
Guitar  1  Giuliani Sonata eroica, Op.150  Ricordi edition available at imslp. (This is not the clearest scan but is the best freely available edition. Do use another edition if you prefer.)  
Piano  1  Brahms Violin sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op.108 – first movement 

(no violinist for video , piano part only) 

 Brahms Breitkopf available at imslp
1b  Brahms Violin sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op.108 – first movement   
2  Beethoven Piano trio No.5 in D major, Op.70 No.1 ‘Ghost’ – first movement   
Flute  1  Telemann 12 Fantasias for Flute without Bass, TWV 40:2-13 – No.6 in D minor 

 

Hindemith 8 Pieces for Solo Flute –  movements II, VI, VII, VIII 

Telemann Barenreiter edition available at imslp 

 

Hindemith not in public domain. Published by Schott, c.£13.50 topurchase from Just Flutes. Set for exams, so widely available.  

2  Patterson Westerly Winds, Op.84– I ‘Scrumpy Giles’, III ‘Lazy Lawrence’   Patterson not in public domain. For access, please email info@cmp.cam.ac.uk
Oboe  1  Telemann 12 Fantasias for Flute without Bass, TWV 40:2-13 – No.2 in A minor 

Britten Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Op.49 – EITHER: No.2 ‘Phaeton’ OR: No.4 ‘Bacchus’ 

Kirsch Ganymed, Op.7 – III [to be sent to candidates] 

Telemann Barenreiter edition available at imslp 

Britten Not in public domain. Published by Boosey & Hawkes, c.£15 topurchase from ABRSM. Set for exams so widely available.  

 

 

2  Patterson Westerly Winds, Op.84– I ‘Scrumpy Giles’, III ‘Lazy Lawrence’  Patterson not in public domain. For access, please email info@cmp.cam.ac.uk
Clarinet  1  Baermann Clarinet quintet No.3, Op.23 – Adagio 

 

Jacob Five Pieces for solo clarinet – ‘Waltz’, ‘Homage to JSB’, ‘Scherzo and Trio’ 

Baermann Breitkopf available at imslp 

 

Not in public domain. Published by Oxford University Press, c.£11 topurchase from Boosey. Set for exams so widely available.  

2  Patterson Westerly Winds, Op.84– I ‘Scrumpy Giles’, III ‘Lazy Lawrence’  Patterson not in public domain. For access, please email info@cmp.cam.ac.uk
Bassoon  1  Milde 50 Concert Studies, Op.26 No.5 

 Nielsen Wind quintet, Op.43 – III –Variation VII only 

Jacob Partita for solo bassoon – I, II, III 

 

Milde Cundy-Bettoney edition available at imslp 

Nielsen Hansen edition available at imslp 

Jacob not in public domain. Published by Oxford University Press, c.£9 topurchase from Boosey. Set for exams so widely available.  

2  Patterson Westerly Winds, Op.84– I ‘Scrumpy Giles’, III ‘Lazy Lawrence’  Patterson not in public domain. For access, please email info@cmp.cam.ac.uk
Horn  1  Arnold Fantasy for Horn, Op.88  Arnold not in public domain. Published by Faber, c.£7.50 topurchase from Faber. Set for exams, so widely available.  
2  Patterson Westerly Winds, Op.84– I ‘Scrumpy Giles’, III ‘Lazy Lawrence’

Victor Ewald Brass Quintet No.1, Op.5 

 

Horn players will be asked to express a preference for playing in either a wind or brass group. 

Patterson not in public domain. For access, please email info@cmp.cam.ac.uk
 
Trumpet  1  Arnold Fantasy for Trumpet, Op.100  Not in public domain. Published by Faber, c.£4 topurchase as digital download from Boosey.  
2  Victor Ewald Brass Quintet No.1, Op.5   
Trombone  1  Arnold Fantasy for Trombone, Op.101  Not in public domain. Published by Faber, c.£4 topurchase as digital download from Boosey.  
2  Victor Ewald Brass Quintet No.1, Op.5   
Tuba  1  Arnold Fantasy for Tuba, Op.102  Not in public domain. Published by Faber, c.£4 topurchase as digital download from Boosey.  
2  Victor Ewald Brass Quintet No.1, Op.5   

We believe financial constraints should not be a barrier to participation. If the cost of sheet music for the auditions is prohibitive, please contact info@cmp.cam.ac.uk FAO Chloe Davidson to confidentially discuss finances.

If you are having difficulty accessing repertoire, please contact info@cmp.cam.ac.uk.

ROUND 1

You may play from any edition of the set repertoire. Links and suggestions of edition are provided below where publicly available* to facilitate your preparation.

*Links below are for music in the public domain in the UK. If you are based in another country, please check the copyright rules for accessing music in your country. In particular, the US rules differ from many other countries.

ROUND 2

Sheet music will be provided at the audition so that everyone is playing from the same edition. You can find parts to prepare in the table above.

Award Managers

The Instrumental Awards Scheme is an intercollegiate scheme administered by the Centre for Music Performance. The scheme is directed by a committee drawn from across the colleges and University.

Role Name University/College Position(s)
Director Dr David Trippett Professor of Music and Director of Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Music
Director of Studies in Music, Christ’s College
Artistic Director Professor Margaret Faultless Director of Performance, Faculty of Music
Director of Performance, Centre for Music Performance
Musician in Residence, St John’s College
Treasurer Dr Paul Wingfield Director of Studies in Music, Trinity College
Manager Dr Sam Barrett Professor of Early Medieval Music, Faculty of Music
Director of Studies in Music, Pembroke College
Manager Dr Martin Ennis Associate Professor in Music, Faculty of Music
Director of Studies in Music and Director of Music, Girton College
Manager Christopher Lawrence Bursar, Newnham College
CMP Representative Chloe Davidson Manager, Centre for Music Performance