Audition Requirements

Audition requirements for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra are as follows:

Eligibility: At the time of the first rehearsal, candidates must be no older than 20 years of age.

Scheduling an Audition:  After submitting an application, candidates will be notified by phone of their audition time after each application deadline. Auditions are scheduled in ten-minute intervals. Auditions for each instrument group are generally held on a single day. For this reason, alternate dates and times may not be available due to scheduling restrictions.

Please note that the application period for the 2013-2014 Season has now ended. Applications for the 2014-2015 Season are currently being accepted. Please check this webpage for updates and contact or (415) 503-5350 with any questions.

Thank you,
Jason Pyszkowski - Youth Orchestra Manager

Adjudication: The Youth Orchestra Music Director and members of the San Francisco Symphony will adjudicate all auditions.  Due to limited time, judges will only be able to hear excerpts from your audition material.

Location: All auditions are held in practice rooms at Davies Symphony Hall. Directions and parking information will be provided upon scheduling the audition.

1. Scale requirements

Be prepared to perform two scales - one major and one minor (harmonic or melodic).  In most cases, you may choose the scales yourself—please see below for each instrument’s specific requirements.

Strings - Be prepared to demonstrate different bow techniques at varying speeds, including staccato and legato playing.

Violin, Viola - Scales of your choice, three octaves

Cello - Scales of your choice, four octaves

Bass - Scales of your choice, two octaves

Winds - Be prepared to demonstrate detached or slurred articulation, at varying speeds, throughout the entire range of the scale.

Flute, Oboe, Clarinet - Scales of your choice, two octaves

Bassoon - B and Eb Major, three octaves (no minor scale required)

French Horn - Scales of your choice, two octaves

Trumpet - C Major and minor, two octaves

Tenor Trombone - C Major (begin on “C” within the bass clef staff) and D Major  (begin on low “D” below the bass clef staff), two octaves; no minor scale)

Bass Trombone - Bb Major and minor, three octaves

Tuba - F Major and minor, two octaves

Percussion - Scales of your choice, two octaves (on marimba). Be prepared to play a roll (pp -ff ) on timpani and/or snare drum.

Harp - Scales of your choice, four octaves (hands together)

2. Solo piece

All candidates must prepare a movement from a concerto or comparable solo piece of the candidate’s choice. Percussionists should choose a piece written for marimba. This selection should accurately represent overall musicianship including technical facility and lyricism. The solo piece should total 6-8 minutes in length.  No accompanists, please.

3. Orchestral Excerpts

All candidates must prepare the specific excerpt(s) for their instrument.  Click on instrument title below to download excerpt as a PDF file.  To request a hard copy sent to you, please e-mail or call (415) 503-5350.

Violin - Brahms, Symphony No. 1, 1st movement, 1st violin part; measures 1 to 70

Viola - Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6, 1st movement; measures 19 to 38; Mozart, Symphony no. 35 "Haffner", 4th movement

Cello - Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6, Movement II - Allegro con grazia, begining to measure 16; Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, Movement III - Allegro, pick up to measure 140 to measure 213; Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet, Balcony Scene - Andante, 8 measures before rehearsal 58 to rehearsal 58

Bass - Brahms, Symphony No. 2, 1st movement; measures 54 to 66 and measures 118 to downbeat of 136

Flute - Beethoven, Leonore Overture No. 3; measures 328 to 360;  Brahms, Symphony No. 4; pickup to measure 93 to measure 105

Oboe - Schubert, Symphony No. 9 (The Great C Major), 2nd movement; measures 8 to 30

Clarinet- Beethoven, Symphony No. 9, 2nd movement; measures 180 to 248;  Berloiz, Symphonie fantastique, 3rd movement; measures 119 to 131;  Brahms, Symphony No. 3, 3rd movement; measures 1 to 22

Bassoon - Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade, 2nd movement; measures 5 to 26 (letter “A”) and 2nd measure of “L” to “M”

Horn - Brahms, Symphony No. 3 - 3rd movement, 1st Horn; Rehearsal F to twelve bars before rehearsal G

Trumpet -
Trumpet in B Flat
1. Stravinsky, Petrushka (1911), 3rd Tableau (Dance of the Ballerina)
Measures 4 to 29

Trumpet in C
2. Moussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, Promenade
Measures 1 to 24

Trumpet in B flat
3. Mahler, Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement (Trauermarsch)
Measures 1 to 26

Trumpet in B-Flat
4. Snedecor, Etude VI
Please contact the Youth Orchestra at to receive this selection.

There is NO Solo Concerto of your choice. Snedecor will be considered the Solo Piece.

Tenor Trombone - Wagner, Overture to Tannhäuser; measures 378 to end

Bass Trombone - Wagner, Die Walküre, The Ride of the Valkyries; pick-up to “11” to 5 measures after “12”;  Schumann, Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish,” 4th movement (entire movement)

Tuba - Wagner, Overture to Die Meistersinger; “J” to “L”; Wagner, Die Walküre, The Ride of the Valkyries; pick-up to “11” to 5 measures after “12”

Percussion - Percussion audition requirements coming soon. Please email for more details.

4. Sight-reading

All candidates may be asked to sight-read from standard orchestral repertoire.



To request hard copies of audition excerpts:  
(415) 503-5350

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