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joining in audition process

Auditions take place all over the UK and are free. This year’s auditions will take place in September and October. Applicants are able to indicate first and second choice of audition location on the application form.

The information here specifically applies to the process for recruiting NYO 2014, and may change in future years, but this is to give you the general idea about what happens.


First of all, we aim to make the audition very friendly and support you as much as possible throughout the process to enable you to perform at your best.

For new applicants on most instruments, there are two stages: a preliminary audition and then, for selected candidates, a final audition – read more about your audition process below.

Double bass, harp, percussion and tuba players have only one stage. If you play one of these instruments please click here to find out how the process works for you.

Current and former players should scroll to the bottom of this page to read about the re-application process

Composers both new and current, please click here to find out about how the process works for you

New applicants (all instruments except bass, harp, percussion and tuba)
This year we refreshed the audition process so that at all stages you will play to an NYO tutor from your instrument family. Here are the details:

Preliminary audition


Preliminary auditions consist of a 15-minute individual audition and a 20-minute workshop. Both are led by an NYO tutor.

The individual audition will consist of the following elements:

1) Two pieces of your own choice. (Brass players are only required to prepare one piece)
The pieces you perform should be contrasting in terms of composer and work. You will be asked to play for a maximum of six minutes in total so while it’s fine to offer pieces that are longer than that when played in full, bear in mind you will only be able to play an extract from them in this part of the audition. You may be asked to stop before the end of your performance. We recommend you choose works that you know well and enjoy playing and that show you at your best. Please don’t offer two movements from the same piece. The pieces should be accompanied, and you will need to use the professional accompanist provided by NYO.

2) Orchestral excerpts
Orchestral excerpts form part of both the individual audition in both rounds and the sectional workshop in the final auditions round. They will be chosen by NYO tutors and you download the sheet music for them from the NYO online application form. Orchestral excerpts are used to illuminate aspects of your playing, imagination and understanding of orchestral musicianship in demanding pieces and to allow the panel to establish how players of possibly differing standards address the technical and musical challenges of the same repertoire. We recommend you give yourself time to prepare and pay careful and thorough attention to all the musical details of the excerpts (including tempo and markings), that you research and understand the orchestral context of the excerpts, and that you consider how you will best manage each extract personally to ensure that you give a committed, confident and natural musical performance. Please note that performing the orchestral excerpts replaces the study that has previously formed part of the NYO auditions process.

3) Short interview
This is a short chat to discuss aspects of your playing and performance background.

4) Workshop
In addition there is a workshop focused on playing technique, in which you will have the opportunity to engage with other candidates. This aspect of the audition process is intended to allow tutors to disseminate their world-class teaching expertise while at the same time allowing us to observe how applicants respond to NYO tutors and other musicians in a group setting. Each workshop lasts 20 minutes and involves four candidates, led by an NYO tutor.

Preliminary results


We have to wait until all preliminary auditions are complete before we can shortlist for final auditions. Therefore, please do not worry if your audition is in early September but you do not hear anything until October.

Final auditions


Final auditions take place in London during October 2013. Current and former NYO members are also re-auditioned at this stage.

Final auditions will last 20 minutes and consist of:
1) The same two accompanied pieces (one piece for brass players) and orchestral excerpts that you prepared for your preliminary audition. You will play for a larger panel including an NYO tutor of your instrument and a member of the NYO management team.

2) An interview in which we will talk about what you will bring to NYO, what you hope to gain from membership and what we expect of members as musicians and role models. It is also an opportunity to ask us any questions you may have.

3) Sectional workshop
You will also take part in a short sectional workshop with other candidates which will explore ensemble playing and enable you to draw insight from our experts that you can immediately apply to your own music-making whether or not you eventually get a place in NYO. This will focus on the same orchestral excerpts you will have prepared for your individual audition.

Final results


Once all the final auditions for your instrument have taken place, we will contact you by email with your result as soon as possible – usually within ten working days of your audition. We regret that we cannot let you know results by telephone. If you are not chosen this time, but will be 18 or under on 1 September 2014, we hope you will continue practising and enjoying your music, and apply again next year.

Current and former players


As a current or former member you go straight through to the final auditions round.

The audition will last 20 minutes and consist of:
1) Two pieces of your own choice. (Brass players are only required to prepare one piece)

The pieces you perform should be contrasting in terms of composer and work. You will be asked to play for a maximum of six minutes in total so while it’s fine to offer pieces that are longer than that when played in full, bear in mind you will only be able to play an extract from them in this part of the audition. You may be asked to stop before the end of your performance. We recommend you choose works that you know well and enjoy playing and that show you at your best. Please don’t offer two movements from the same piece. The pieces should be accompanied, and you will need to use the professional accompanist provided by NYO. Harps do not need to play accompanied.

Percussion players are invited to prepare:
a) a Grade 8 snare drum piece of your choice from the ABRSM/Trinity Guildhall syllabuses
b) a tuned piece of your own choice for xylophone or 4.3 octave marimba
Percussionists may prepare short pieces in their entirety or sections from longer works. Snare drum, 4.3 octave marimba, four timpani and xylophone will be provided at the audition. We are happy to hear you unaccompanied but if you would like to be accompanied, you should bring an accompanist at your own expense.

2) Orchestral excerpts
Orchestral excerpts form part of both the individual audition and the sectional workshop. They will be chosen by NYO tutors and you can download the sheet music for them from the NYO online application form. Percussion excerpts will be for timpani. Orchestral excerpts are used to illuminate aspects of your playing, imagination and understanding of orchestral musicianship in demanding pieces and to allow the panel to establish how players of possibly differing standards address the technical and musical challenges of the same repertoire. We recommend you give yourself time to prepare and pay careful and thorough attention to all the musical details of the excerpts (including tempo and markings), that you research and understand the orchestral context of the excerpts, and that you consider how you will best manage each extract personally to ensure that you give a committed, confident and natural musical performance. Please note that performing the orchestral excerpts replaces the study that has previously formed part of the NYO auditions process

3) Interview
In this interview we will talk about your current NYO experience, what you will bring to NYO 2014, what you hope to gain from membership and what we expect of members as musicians and role models. It is also an opportunity to ask us any questions you may have.

4) Sectional workshop
You will also take part in a short sectional workshop with other candidates which will explore ensemble playing and enable you to draw insight from our experts that you can immediately apply to your own music-making whether or not you eventually get a place in NYO. This will focus on the same orchestral excerpts you will have prepared for your individual audition.

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