Welcome to the Orchestral Auditions for 2024–25! 

Auditions are held at the start of each academic year for Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO), Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO), and Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO). You can also register your interest for the Cambridge University New Music Group (CUNMG) and Cambridge University Collegium Musicum (CUCM).

Applications will open 15 August. Please keep looking at out social media for when applications open.

Auditions for 2024–25 will be held from 9-13 October 2024 at West Road Concert Hall, 11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP. 

Any questions?

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

Looking for IAS information?

About the ensembles 

Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO) is the flagship orchestra that brings together the best student musicians across the university to work with professional conductors and soloists and give performances at the highest level. There are five concerts a year (two for a chamber orchestra, three for a symphony orchestra), with rehearsals in the two weeks before each concert. 

Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO) is run by students for students to make good music in a friendly atmosphere. CUSO rehearses weekly and has a concert at the end of each term. Performances are very high quality, and the student conductors are winners of a competition and receive training from professional conductors.  

Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO) (otherwise known as a concert band) play a variety of repertoire that both stretches players and is fun to play – from concert band standards to film music and orchestral transcriptions. CUWO is student run and conducted, and rehearses weekly, with a concert at the end of each term, including a performance for local schools.  

Cambridge University New Music Group (CUNMG) exists to support Cambridge’s long and distinguished history of contemporary classical music, showcasing pieces by acclaimed composers from the Faculty of Music teaching staff, the best student composers and exciting and interesting pieces by leading composers working today. Rehearsals are on a project basis. 

Cambridge University Collegium Musicum (CUCM) explores the world of historically informed performance and players perform side-by-side with specialists in exciting and innovative projects, often supporting the Cambridge University Chamber Choir. Rehearsals are on a project basis. 

How to book an audition

  • If you would like to audition, you will need to complete the application form (even if you are a returning student).  
  • Applications should be received by 10 October, 12 noon. 
  • All applications for CUO, CUSO, CUWO or CUNMG received by this time will be sent a link to select your audition time. 
  • Applicants for CUCM will be invited to a ‘Come and Play’ workshop on 16 October 2024. 
  • If you want to apply for multiple instruments, please fill in a separate application form for each instrument.   
  • If you are invited to the second round, you will be sent another link to select your second-round audition time. 
  • Detailed information on audition dates, times and requirements for each instrument can be found below. 
  • We are unable to provide accompanists and you should be prepared to perform without. 
  • If you are a strong orchestral pianist or harpist, please complete the application form with details of your experience. We will contact you directly.  

Applications open on 15 August 2024. 

If you have played in an ensemble in 2022–23, you may not need to audition:

 

CUO

CUSO or CUS (Cambridge University Sinfonia)

CUWO

Brass

Need to audition.

Need to audition.

Need to audition.

Percussion

Need to audition.

Need to audition.

· You may continue as a percussionist in CUWO without audition. Please let the CUWO president know you are continuing by 1 October. Email: Laura Thomas

· If you would like to be considered as CUWO timpanist, CUWO principal percussionist or for other ensembles, you do need to audition.

Strings

· String players from CUO 2023-2024 who weren’t in the front two desks you can keep your position in the orchestra. Please let the CUO president know you are continuing by 1 October.

· Email: Annabel Beniston (ab2912@cam.ac.uk)

· All other strings need to audition but can go straight through to Round 2. 

· If you would like to be considered for a CUO principal role, please fill out this form by 1 October. You will be invited to a workshop on Saturday 12 October. 

· String players from CUSO 2023-2024 can play in CUSO as tutti strings for 2024–25 without audition. Please let the CUSO president know you are continuing by 1 October. Email: Daniel Brierley db961@cam.ac.uk 

· If you would like to be considered for a CUSO principal role, please contact the CUSO president by 1 October. You may be invited to a workshop on 12 October. Email: Daniel Brierley db961@cam.ac.uk 

 

N/A

Wind

Need to audition.

Need to audition.

· You may continue as a tutti flute or clarinet player in CUWO without audition. Please let the CUWO president know you are continuing by 1 October.

· If you would like to be considered for a CUWO principal or for other ensembles, you do need to audition.

Applying for IAS and the orchestras

If you want to apply to IAS and orchestra:

  • fill in the IAS application form by 5 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

Find out more about the Instrumental Awards for Chamber Music Scheme here

What happens at the audition? 

Double Bass, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Bassoon, Saxophone, Percussion 

ROUND 1 

To be considered for: 

  • A place in Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO), Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO), Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO), Instrumental Awards for Chamber Music Scheme (IAS)* 
  • Auditions will take 12 minutes. 
  • You will be asked to perform a piece (or section of a larger work) of your own choice, lasting no longer than four minutes.  
  • If you would like to be considered for CUO you will be asked to perform a selection of the orchestral extracts, which should be prepared in advance [link to section below]. 
  • If you would only like to be considered for CUSO or CUWO there is no need to prepare the orchestral extracts. Please let your auditioner know that you don’t wish to be considered for CUO.  
  • You may be asked to play a short extract on a related instrument if relevant. Please bring these with you to your audition where possible. There will be a bass trombone, contrabassoon, but please bring your own reeds. 
  • You may be asked questions by the panel. 

 

The audition panel will include professional performers in your instrument and a student representative from CUSO will observe. 

*Those being considered for a place on the IAS should read the information here: https://www.cmp.cam.ac.uk/instrumental-awards-chamber-music-scheme-ias 

 

Violin, Viola, Cello, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet

ROUND 1  

You will be invited to a solo audition with student auditioners, which will take place in the evenings of 9-11 October 2024 at West Road Concert Hall. 

  • Auditions will take 5 minutes. 
  • You will be asked to perform a piece or extract of your own choice, lasting no longer than four minutes. 
  • You may be asked questions by the panel. 

 

Round 1 audition panels will include current/former principals in your instrument plus members of the student committees. 

 

ROUND 2  

If you are being considered for: 

  • a place in Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO) 
  • a place on the Instrumental Awards for Chamber Music Scheme (IAS)* 
  • as a principal for Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra (CUSO)** 
  • as a principal for Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO) 

You may be invited back to a second round of auditions with professional auditioners, which will take place on Friday 11 or Saturday 12 October 2024 at West Road Concert Hall. 

 

  • Auditions will take 12 minutes. 
  • You will be asked to perform a piece (or section of a larger work) of your own choice, lasting no longer than four minutes. You may play the same piece as you played in the first round. 
  • You will be asked to perform a selection of the orchestral extracts, which should be prepared in advance [link to section below]. 
  • You may be asked to play a short extract on a related instrument if relevant (e.g., piccolo, cor anglais etc.). Please bring these with you to your audition where possible. There will be a bass trombone, contrabassoon, cor anglais and bass clarinet available, but please bring your own reeds. 
  • You may be asked questions by the panel. 

 

Round 2 audition panels will include professional performers in your instrument plus IAS coaches. 

 

*Those being considered for a place on the IAS should read the information here: https://www.cmp.cam.ac.uk/instrumental-awards-chamber-music-scheme-ias  

**Those being considered for CUO/CUSO principals may be asked to an additional workshop on Saturday 12 October. 

Results 

Students being offered principal roles will be contacted by phone on Sunday 13 October. 

Invitations to orchestras will be emailed on Monday 14 October and you will need to accept your place within 24 hours. 

On the day of the audition 

Please arrive around 15 minutes before your audition time and sign in at the welcome desk. You will be directed to the warm-up room and a steward will show you to your audition room at the correct time. 

Orchestral Extracts 

Orchestral Extracts will be released on 15 August