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How to 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 polled by email or phone only after each application deadline for possible availability. Individual Auditions are scheduled in intervals of approximately ten minutes. Auditions for each instrument group are generally held on a single day only due to the scheduling needs of our Music Director, faculty, and the San Francisco Symphony. For this reason, alternate dates and times may not be available due to scheduling restrictions.

Applications for the 2021-2022 Season are currently being accepted. The deadline to participate in our current audition round (anticipated for May/June 2021) HAS BEEN EXTENDED to April 15th, 2021. Please check this webpage for updates and contact yo@sfsymphony.org or (415) 503-5350 with any questions.

Thank you,
Jason Pyszkowski - Associate Director, Youth Orchestra Program

Apply online now – click this link

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

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

COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to frequently changing directives from local/state health authorities, this season's auditions may be conducted online or by recording.  Information regarding the exact nature of the audition itself will be further communicated to the applicants after their applications have been accepted.  The SFSYO follows the most recent health guidelines to ensure the maximum safety of auditionees and their families.

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 - Scale (one) 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 - Please see the linked packet

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)

Keyboard - Scales of your choice played on piano, four octaves (hands together)


2. Solo piece

Candidates must prepare a movement from a concerto or comparable solo piece of their choosing.  This selection should accurately represent overall musicianship including technical facility and lyricism. The solo piece should total 6-8 minutes in length.  The SFSYO office will not make recommendations for specific pieces to present - the choice should be made by the applicant in-conjunction with a studio teacher and/or other trusted musical advisor.  Please do not plan to include an accompanist in any part of your audition.

Notable Exceptions:

- Horn applicants should prepare [first movements when applicable] from one of the following solo pieces: 

*Mozart, W.A./ Concerto EITHER No. 2 (E-flat, K.417) or 4 (E-flat, K.495) 

*Saint Saëns/ Morceau de Concert, Op. 94

*Strauss, Franz/ Concerto, Op. 8

*Strauss, Richard/ Concerto No. 1, Op. 11

- Trumpet applicants will have a required solo piece provided in the packet linked here.

- Percussion applicants should be prepared to present two contrasting etudes for snare.  If you choose a piece written for marimba.  Please note, we often have a 5-octave instrument available, but you must check with our office at the time of your application.

- Keyboard applicants should prepare a movement from the keyboard sonata of your choice by Josef Haydn.  Though you should work with your teacher to determine which edition(s) to prepare, you may find many examples of his sonatas here: http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Haydn,_Joseph

3. Orchestral Excerpts

All candidates must prepare all of the specific excerpt(s) required for their instrument unless it is indicated as optional.  Click on instrument sections below to download excerpts as a PDF file.  Please use only this sheet music to prepare the orchestral excerpts as all markings are specific to this audition.  To request that a hard copy be sent to you, please e-mail yo@sfsymphony.org or call (415) 503-5350.  We will not send music via USPS unless you give us a complete street mailing address and indicate for which instrument(s) you are auditioning.


Violin

Viola

Cello

Bass

Flute

Oboe

Clarinet

Bassoon

Horn

Trumpet

Tenor Trombone

Bass Trombone

Tuba

Percussion

Keyboard

4. Sight-reading

Any candidate may be asked to sight-read from standard orchestral repertoire for the instrument on which they are auditioning.