Audition Requirements

Please note ALL REQUIREMENTS for your instrument category before submitting your application and contact [email protected] with any questions or to seek clarification: 

Eligibility: To be actively considered, candidates should be no older than 20 years of age as of approximately September 15, 2024.  If a candidate's birthday occurs around this time, please check with our office to determine eligibility.  Candidates must also reside - or have anticipation of residence – in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  If accepted into the Youth Orchestra, all members will be reasonably expected to commute by car or public transit to Davies Symphony Hall for all regular services. 

Scheduling an Audition:  After each application deadline, candidates will be sent the audition procedure for their instrument section.  Preliminary video rounds may be requested after an application is received. In person auditions rounds, held by instrument group, generally occur only on a single day due to the scheduling needs of our Music Director, faculty, and of the San Francisco Symphony.  For this reason, alternate dates and times may not be available.  Please do not submit unsolicited requests for specific single audition dates.  Notifications of unavoidable conflicts such as school graduations or pre-arranged family trips, though not guaranteed to be accommodated, are welcomed for consideration and appreciated.

Applications for the 2024-2025 Season are currently being accepted. The deadline to participate in our current audition round (anticipated for April/May 2024) is February 1, 2024. Please check this webpage for updates and contact [email protected] 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 who serve as our faculty will adjudicate all auditions.  As opposed to a panel of “judges,” our adjudicators record feedback from each audition which will be released and discussed with the candidate upon request.  Teachers are anticipated to discuss this feedback with their student(s) rather than to request it directly from the Youth Orchestra administration. 

Location: In person auditions are normally held in rehearsal spaces at Davies Symphony Hall.  Directions and parking information will be provided upon scheduling the audition.

COVID-19 UPDATE: The SF Symphony Youth Orchestra follows the most recent city, county, and state health guidelines to ensure the maximum safety of auditionees and their families.

1. Scale requirements

Please check the linked packets below for the most current requirements.

2. Solo piece

Candidates must prepare a solo selection – such as a  movement from a concerto or comparable solo work of their choosing.  This selection should accurately represent the candidate’s current and most representative level of overall musicianship including both technical facility and lyricism while still being mindful of techniques needed in orchestral playing such as steady rhythm, full warm tones, and consistently solid intonation. The solo piece should total no more than 5-6 minutes in length.  Excerpts of larger works are very acceptable.   Candidates should be prepared to perform solo pieces unaccompanied as neither collaborative pianists nor recorded backing tracks will be permitted in any round of our auditions.

The SF Symphony Youth Orchestra 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(s.)  Again, 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 as well as the required excerpt (see linked packet for specific requirements), one solo piece for mallet instrument (two or four mallets), and one timpani excerpt from a classical or romantic work.  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 Joseph Haydn.  Though you should work with your teacher to determine which edition(s) to prepare, you may find many examples of his sonatas here:,_Joseph

3. Orchestral Excerpts and Scale Requirements

All candidates must prepare each 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.  











Tenor Trombone

Bass Trombone




4. Sight-reading

Any candidate attending live and in person auditions may be asked to sight-read from standard orchestral repertoire for the instrument on which they are auditioning.

Please wait...