Instrumental Auditions

You can now sign up for an online audition for CUMS’s 2020-21 season. Visit our sign up for an audition page for more details.

Usual format of the auditions:

  • Flute, clarinet, oboe and cello players will have two rounds of auditions. The first round will be with student auditioners, and the second round will be with a professional auditioner.
  • Violinists will have two rounds of auditions. Both rounds will be taken by a professional auditioner.
  • Viola, double bass, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, timpani and percussion players will have one round of auditions taken by a professional auditioner.
  • Saxophonists auditioning for CUWO will have one round of auditions taken by a student auditioner.
  • Harpists should contact to arrange an audition.
  • If you are a strong orchestral pianist and would like to find out about performing with our ensembles, please contact

For existing members of CUMS:

  • Members of all CUMS ensembles are required to re-audition if they wish to be considered for the 2019-20 Season.
  • All 2018-19 CUO players except violinists will automatically go through to the final round of auditions.
  • All 2018-19 CUO violinists must play in the first round of auditions if they wish to be considered for the 2019-20 season.

First round auditions for Cello, Flute, Oboe and Clarinet and Saxophone auditions

The auditions will be run by the 2018-19 principal players. At your audition (approximately 10 minutes long) you will be invited to play a piece or extract of a piece of your own choice and also play one or two pieces of sight-reading. Your chosen piece/extract should not last more than 4 minutes. We are unable to provide accompanists and most people perform without, but you may bring one if you wish. Some of the cello places in Cambridge University Sinfonia and most of the woodwind places in CUWO will be awarded as a result of this initial audition.

First round auditions for Violin

The first round (on 12 October) will be heard by Odile Ollagnon. Each audition will be only 3 minutes long but please be available to audition 10 minutes before your allotted time. At your audition you will be invited to play a piece or an extract of a piece of your own choice and this should not last more than 2 minutes (please do not bring an accompanist). Most of the violin places in Cambridge University Sinfonia will be awarded as a result of this initial audition.

Auditions for Viola, Double Bass, Bassoon, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Trumpet/Cornet, Tuba, Timpani and Percussion

There will be just one round of auditions run by professional musicians. At your audition (about 10 minutes long), you will be invited to play a piece or extract of your own choice and also play one or two pieces of sight-reading. Your chosen piece/extract should not last more than 4 minutes. We are unable to provide accompanists and most people perform without, but you may bring one if you wish. Places in all our ensembles will be awarded as a result of this audition. For Timpani and Percussion please book one audition and you can play either Timpani or Percussion or both.

Final round auditions for Violin, Cello, Flute, Oboe and Clarinet

A final round of auditions will take place on either Saturday 12 or Sunday 13 October. Woodwind players can expect to be called to a final audition if they are considered to be in the running for a place in Cambridge University Orchestra, Cambridge University Sinfonia or principals of CUWO. String players will be called in for a final audition if they are contenders for Cambridge University Orchestra or leadership/high-ranking places in Cambridge University Sinfonia.

You may play the same piece as you played in the first round.

Please note:

Cellists, Oboists and Flautists At your final round audition (about 15 minutes long), you will be invited to play a piece or extract of your own choice and also play one or two pieces of sight-reading. Your chosen piece/extract should not last more than four minutes. The final round cello auditions will be from 2.15-5.00pm on Sunday 13 October. The final round oboe auditions will be from 5.30-7.30pm on Sunday 13 October. The final round flute auditions will be from 4.00-6.00pm on Saturday 12 October.

Clarinetists At your final round audition (about 15 minutes long), you will be invited to play a piece or extract of a piece of your own choice and also play one or two pieces of sight-reading. Your chosen piece/extract should not last more than four minutes. There will also be some pieces to prepare for the final round, which will be available shortly before the auditions. The final round clarinet auditions will be from 2.30-4.30pm on Sunday 13 October.

Violinists Please prepare two contrasting pieces for the final round lasting no more than 7 minutes for the two pieces. There will also be some sight-reading. The final round violin auditions will be from 3.00-8.00pm on Sunday 13 October.

How to sign up for an audition

You can book your audition by signing up online or by visiting the CUMS stand at the CUSU Freshers’ Fair on Tuesday 8 October or Wednesday 9 October 2019.

On the day of the audition

Please arrive at West Road Concert Hall and sign in at the CUMS welcome desk around 15 minutes before your audition time. You will be asked to fill out a form indicating your ensemble preferences. There will be a room in which to warm up before your audition, and a helper from the CUMS welcome desk will show you to your audition room at the correct time.

After your audition

You will be notified of your audition outcome by email or telephone as soon as possible after the audition has taken place. If your audition is successful, you will be assigned places in a number of concerts, most likely one of the following options:

  • A place in all Cambridge University Orchestra concerts for the year (chamber and symphonic).
  • A place in 3 Cambridge University Orchestra concerts (large-scale symphonic works)
  • A place in all Cambridge University Sinfonia concerts for the year (one concert per term).
  • A place in Cambridge University Wind Orchestra.

If you have any queries about the auditions, please see our FAQ page or contact who will be more than happy to help. Good luck!

 

Registered Charity No. 1149534

Cambridge University Musical Society
West Road Concert Hall
11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP
Principal Guest Conductor
Sir Roger Norrington CBE
Artistic Advisor
Sian Edwards
Director, Cambridge University Symphony Chorus
Richard Wilberforce
Director, Cambridge University Chamber Choir
Martin Ennis
Associate Directors, Cambridge University Chamber Choir
David Lowe, Nicholas Mulroy