2023 Instrumental Audition Requirements

All new AND returning instrumentalists interested in participating in the University Symphony Orchestra, University Chamber Orchestra, University Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble are required to audition in order to be considered for membership. Returning musicians, and others who are on campus by September 18 are urged to sign up for an appointment as early in the audition period as possible. 

Audition Requirements

  • Instrumental Ensemble Auditions will last approximately 12 minutes each. 
  • Prepare 6 to 7 minutes of music to play at the audition. Contrasting excerpts from the solo or orchestral literature are best: something fast and flashy, plus something slow and lyrical. Select repertoire that demonstrates your technical ability and your musical skills, and that shows the strengths of your playing. Do not choose music that is too difficult for you, or that you have not  thoroughly prepared. 
  • Memorization of audition excerpts is not necessary. 
  • You will also be asked to sight-read passages from standard orchestral repertoire, and to demonstrate facility with transposition, if relevant to your instrument. 
  • All instrumental auditions take place in Logan 703. Percussion auditions take place in Logan 901. 

Percussion Auditions

For percussion auditions, students may choose to audition on any or all of the following instruments: timpani, snare drum, marimba / xylophone. Other percussion instruments are available by advance request. Students should prepare two or more contrasting excerpts for the auditions, and should bring an extra photocopy of their musical selections as well as their own sticks and mallets (if available) to the auditions. Please note that there is one set of percussion auditions for students interested in any or all of the following performance opportunities: University Symphony Orchestra, University Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. 

Results and First Rehearsal

  • Acceptance lists for large instrumental ensembles will be emailed to auditionees by Wednesday, September 27, at 12 noon. Audition acceptance information will also be posted at the Music Department Main Office (Goodspeed Hall, Room 309) and in the Logan Center for the Arts, in the hallway outside Room 217. 
  • All musicians accepted for ensemble membership are expected to attend the organization’s first rehearsal, as specified in email acceptance notices and in the ensemble descriptions on the Department website. 

Tips for In-Person Auditions

  • Arrive early in order to be on time for your appointment. Each director has a very large number of auditions to hear, and needs to keep on schedule. 
  • Warm up thoroughly before the audition. Practice rooms on the lower level of the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th Street) will be available for this purpose during the entire audition period. 
  • Remember that the goal of these auditions is to involve you in our Department of Music Performance Program, and to foster your musical growth while you are at the University of Chicago. There is no reason to be nervous about your audition! Come to the audition well-prepared, confident, and ready to demonstrate your musical strengths to the directors who are listening. 

We look forward to hearing your audition!