Audition information for:

Performance Program Ensembles

Participation in Department of Music ensembles and activities is, in most cases, by audition.  There are just two ensembles that do not require prior musical experience in the idiom: the South Asian Music Ensemble and the Middle East Music Ensemble.  In all cases, preference for membership in the Department of Music Performance ensembles is given to qualified students at the University of Chicago; faculty, staff, and interested community members are welcome to audition, however, and to participate in the ensembles as space permits.  

No degree credit is granted for participation in any of the Department of Music’s performance ensembles or programs, but undergraduates who are accepted into one of the large performance ensembles may register for that ensemble on a zero-credit, pass-fail basis.  Such quarterly ensemble registration is listed on the students’ official University of Chicago transcripts.  Full information on registration procedures is provided to musicians after their acceptance into the particular ensemble(s).

Auditioning for Ensemble Membership

The main auditions for membership in performance ensembles and programs for the 2017-2018 season will be held September 20-27. Additional auditions will also take place during the first two weeks of the school year. Please see the Audition Requirements page for the location and time of each ensemble and program.

In some cases it is possible to audition for or join an ensemble later in the season, but most positions in the ensembles are filled at the beginning of the academic year, and thus all students are strongly encouraged to audition at that time.  Returning musicians are required to re-audition each season, so there are no permanent seats within the ensembles.  Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in a variety of ensemble and program opportunities during the course of their four years on campus, in order to maximize their musical experience and growth.

How Do I Sign Up for Auditions?

To audition for participation in the Performance Program, interested musicians may sign-up in person in the 8th floor lobby of the Logan Center for the Arts beginning Monday, September 18 at 11:00 a.m.  Audition sign-ups continue through Monday, September 25.

The sign-up table will be staffed the following days and times:
Weekdays (M-F), 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Weekends (Sat/Sun), 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Please read the Audition Requirements page for important scheduling and preparation information. For questions about auditions, call the audition hotline at 773.795.0500.

Where Do Auditions Happen?

2017-2018 auditions take place in multiple locations around campus:
(Click here for campus maps)

  • Choral Ensembles: Cobb Hall 429 (5811 S. Ellis Avenue; enter from inside quadrangles)
  • Instrumental Ensembles:  Logan 703 (915 E. 60th Street) for most auditions;  Logan 901 for percussion auditions
  • Chamber Music Program: Fulton Hall (1010 E. 59th Street)
  • Jazz Ensembles: Logan 502 (915 E. 60th Street)
  • Piano Program: Logan 405 (915 E. 60th Street)
  • Vocal Studies Program: Logan 803 (915 E. 60th Street)

Biennial Concerto Competition

Every two years the Department of Music holds a Concerto Competition, which is open to all registered students at the University and to all members of the performance ensembles.  The competition is held during the winter quarter of even-numbered years.  The 2018 Concerto Competition will take place in February 2018, with winning performances to be scheduled during the spring quarter.

For the Biennial Concerto Competition, musicians are requested to audition on the piece that they would like to perform in concert.  The repertoire must be suitable for performance with the University Symphony Orchestra, University Chamber Orchestra, or Wind Ensemble, both in terms of difficulty and in terms of instrumentation.  Depending on the auditions themselves, the committee of judges may select one winner or multiple winners; performances may be scheduled for a springtime Concerto Showcase Concert or on another concert during the subsequent academic year.  Recent Concerto Competition Winners have performed such major repertoire as the violin concertos of Beethoven, Bruch, Glazunov, and Mendelssohn; piano concertos by Brahms, Liszt, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff; and instrumental concertos by Ibert and Gershwin, as well as vocal arias by Donizetti and Strauss.

Music Lesson Awards

The Department of Music offers a limited number of Music Lesson Awards to help defray the cost of private lessons in applied music.  These awards are granted on the basis of competitive auditions held in the middle of the autumn quarter, and may be used to pay up to 60% of the cost of private lessons during the course of the academic year.  Award recipients must be currently registered students, and must be active participants in the Department of Music’s Performance Program.  All lesson arrangements must be made by the time of the auditions themselves.

The audition dates for the 2017 Music Lesson Awards are Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4, 2017.  For detailed information on the 2017 Music Lesson Awards, click here. For the application, click here