Auditions

Auditions

Participation in Department of Music ensembles and activities is, in most cases, by audition. There are just three ensembles that do not require an audition: the Early Music Ensemble, 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 University of Chicago students (both undergraduate and graduate); faculty, staff, and interested community members are welcome to audition for the Department ensembles, and will be invited to participate as space permits.

Auditioning for Ensemble Membership

The main auditions for membership in performance ensembles and programs for the 2019-20 season will be held at the end of September. Additional auditions will take place during the first two weeks of the school year for certain of the ensembles and programs.

Returning musicians are required to re-audition each season; 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 should register in person in the 8th floor lobby of the Logan Center for the Arts. Audition sign-ups begin Monday, September 23 at 11:00 a.m., and continue through Monday, September 30.

The audition 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.

Questions? Email musicauditions@uchicago.edu

Audition Requirements

All auditionees should be sure to consult the “General Tips” listed below, and then study the specific requirements for the group(s) for which they will audition.

General Tips

  • 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 first floor of Goodspeed Hall (1010 E. 59th Street) and 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.
  • You may indicate a preference for an ensemble at the time of your audition, although you will be placed in a particular group according to the directors’ evaluations of your audition as well as ensemble size and needs.
  • 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! Come to the audition well-prepared, confident, and ready to demonstrate your musical strengths to the directors who are listening.

Choral Ensemble Auditions - Logan Center 803

  • Auditions will last approximately 7-8 minutes each.
  • Each musician will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire about his or her vocal experience (available at the audition).
  • The audition itself will consist of the following:
    1. Vocalization to determine voice range and to evaluate pitch accuracy and vowel purity.
    2. Pitch memory exercises and brief sight-reading of one or two melodic phrases.
  • Experienced singers with previous vocal training are encouraged to sing two short, contrasting excerpts of up to 24 measures each from their solo repertoire, such as an aria.

Results & First Rehearsal:

  • Rosters for all ensembles, including recalls for Motet Choir, will be emailed and posted outside the Music Department Main Office (Goodspeed Hall, Room 309) and outside the Choral Office (Cobb Hall, Room 429). Rosters/call backs will be posted on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2 by 12 noon.
  • Attendance at the first rehearsal of each ensemble, as announced on the posted rosters, is mandatory.
  • Be sure to check ALL the acceptance lists carefully, as you may not be placed in your first-choice ensemble.

Instrumental Ensemble Auditions - Logan Center 703

  • Instrumental Ensemble Auditions will last approximately 10 minutes each.
  • Prepare 6 to 7 minutes of music to play at the audition. Contrasting excerpts from 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 skills (if relevant), and possibly to play a specified major or minor scale.

Percussion auditions will be held on Monday, September 30 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. in the Logan Center Penthouse, Room 901.  Note that there is one set of percussion auditions for students interested in the following performance opportunities: University Symphony Orchestra, University Wind Ensemble, and UC Percussion Ensemble.

For these September 30 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 with advance request. Students should prepare two or more contrasting excerpts for the auditions, and should bring an extra photocopy of their musical selections to the auditions.

Practice time for percussionists can be arranged during O-Week by contacting Maria Savannah in Goodspeed 403 or at msavannah@uchicago.edu. Practice times are available primarily during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. Please sign up for practice times as soon as possible, and indicate what instruments you need for practice purposes.

Results and First Rehearsal:

  • Acceptance lists for large instrumental ensembles will be emailed to auditionees and posted outside the Music Department Main Office (Goodspeed Hall, Room 309) and in the Logan Center for the Arts, on the Music Department Performance Program bulletin board (outside Room 214) on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2 by 12 noon.
  • All musicians accepted for ensemble membership are expected to attend the organization’s first rehearsal, as specified on the posted lists and in email acceptance notices.
  • Be sure to check ALL the acceptance lists carefully, as you may not be placed in your first-choice ensemble.

Jazz Ensemble Auditions - Logan Center 502

  • Jazz Ensemble Auditions will last approximately 10 minutes each.
  • Prepare any jazz standard of your choice.
  • Improvisational skills will be tested. Be prepared to play 12-bar blues changes in any key.
  • Knowledge of jazz scales and chords will also be evaluated.
  • You will be asked to sight-read in the audition.

Results & First Rehearsal:

  • Rosters for all ensembles will be posted outside the Music Department Main Office (Goodspeed Hall, Room 309) and in the Logan Center for the Arts, on the Music Department Performance Program bulletin board (outside Room 214) on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2 by 12 noon.
  • All musicians accepted for membership are expected to attend the organization’s first rehearsal, as announced on the posted lists.
  • Be sure to check ALL of the acceptance lists carefully, as you may not be placed in your first-choice ensemble.

Chamber Music Program Placement Auditions - Fulton Recital Hall

  • Chamber Music Program Auditions – for string players, pianists, and other instrumentalists – will last approximately 6 minutes each.
  • Prepare approximately 4 to 5 minutes of music to play at the audition. Contrasting excerpts from the solo, orchestral, or chamber literature are best. Select repertoire that demonstrates your technical ability and your musical skills.
  • This short audition will be used to place you in a chamber group with musicians of similar abilities, so it is to your advantage to be well prepared. Do not choose music that is too difficult for you, or that you have not prepared thoroughly.
  • You will not be asked to sight-read at the Chamber Music Program Audition.
  • Memorization of the instrumental audition excerpts is not necessary.

Results & Placement

  • Musicians will be contacted individually regarding their group placement, coaching sessions, and performance opportunities.
  • A mandatory launch party will be held in Fulton Recital Hall on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30 pm. Musicians will meet their groups and coaches during this obligatory event, so please plan to be there!

Piano Program Auditions - Logan Center 405

  • Auditions will last approximately 10 minutes each.
  • Prepare 6 to 8 minutes of music to play at the audition. Contrasting solo pieces are best: something fast and flashy, plus something slow and lyrical. Select repertoire that demonstrates your technical ability and musical skill. Do not choose music that is too difficult for you, or that you have not thoroughly prepared.
  • You may be asked to sight-read, particularly if you are interested in being placed in a chamber music ensemble.
  • Memorization of prepared excerpts is not necessary.

Results & Placement:

  • Procedures for coaching sign-ups with Svetlana Belsky will be explained at the audition.
  • Pianists will be contacted individually with regard to specific performance opportunities, including showcase concerts, piano master classes, and recitals.

Vocal Studies Program Auditions - Logan Center 803

  • Solo vocal auditions for the Vocal Studies Program will last 10 minutes each.
  • Singers should bring a list of their solo vocal repertoire, as well as any significant performance experiences, to the audition.
  • Piano accompaniment will be provided at the audition. Be sure to bring legible scores with workable page turns.
  • Students should present a variety of contrasting solo selections, up to a maximum of four. Excerpts, rather than complete pieces, are acceptable for the Vocal Studies auditions. One selection in a foreign language is preferred, but not required

Results & Placement:

  • Vocalists will be contacted individually with regard to the wide variety of performance opportunities on campus, including showcase concerts, master classes, and recitals.