Auditions for the orchestra are held on the weekend prior to term starting. Members of the previous year all have to re-audition to regain their seat in the orchestra. The auditions are ten minutes in length, where you are expected to bring a prepared piece and play some sight-reading.

Woodwind, Brass and Percussion players are usually a standard of grade 8+, whilst String players are usually accepted from grade 6+.

For April 2017 we still have the following vacancies:
– Violins
– Viola x2
– Double Bass x1
– French Horn x1
– Tuba

If there is a vacancy in your instrument and you would like to audition, please email


Guide to Auditions

The Southampton University Symphony Orchestra’s membership changes each year. As with any university orchestra, each summer we say goodbye to older members as they leave the university. At the start of each academic year all existing members are re-auditioned, to ensure that the orchestra is of the highest possible standard.

To request an audition, applicants should be of the following playing levels:

  • String players – Grade 6+
  • Woodwind/brass players – Grade 8+ (French Horn players are usually accepted with a minimum standard of Grade 6)
  • Orchestral percussion: Grade 7+

* Whilst the grade/playing level is important, we understand that not all musicians have taken graded exams. We use the grade level simply as a guide. If however, you do take exams, it should be assumed that you have already taken and moved beyond the minimum grade requirements in order to be able to request an audition.

Preparing for the audition:

Applicants will be expected to perform a programme of roughly 5 minutes. The timing here is not important, we will stop you once we have heard enough! We hope your programme will have two contrasting sections (this could be from one piece or two contrasting pieces). You will then be given some orchestral sight-reading, nothing too scary though!

Don’t panic!

An audition may seem a little daunting at first, however we do keep it as informal as possible. The rewards are great the ‘other-side’, as if you choose to join SUSO you will be following in the footsteps of thousands of musicians before you… what are you waiting for?!!

Good luck- we look forward to hearing you!


Orchestral Playing Hints!
Flautists – how is your piccolo playing? The piccolo is a vital part of the flute section’s sound. Although not imperative, the ability to play the piccolo as well as the flute may give you an advantage in the audition.

Saxophonists – the saxophone is not a standard orchestral instrument and as such, not all orchestral music requires a saxophone. This means that we are unable to offer permanent places to saxophonists. However, if an applicant plays another instrument as well as the sax to the required audition standard, we can look at the possibility of accepting the applicant on their alternative instrument and have them transfer to the sax as and when needed.

Trumpeters – be prepared! Transposition will become an important part of your everyday orchestral playing. Not all trumpet parts are written for trumpets in Bb! Don’t forget all your theory – you’ll need it to be able to transpose successfully.

Viola players – should be comfortable playing from both the alto and treble clefs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *