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Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra Auditions

We are delighted that you are auditioning for BYSO 2018-19 and we hope that you will enjoy preparing, practising and performing for your audition panel this year. 

BYSO is now almost full for 2018-19; we only have a few spaces left for violas and double basses. If you would like to apply for a viola or double bass audition then please scroll down to find out how. If you play any other instrument then we would be delighted to meet you for an audition for 2019-20 when the auditions will be held in late Spring 2019 – please check back at this page in April 2019 to register.

The standard of music making achieved in BYSO continues to improve year on year, evident in Maestros' showcase concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 and their tour to Italy in July 2018. We have a hugely exciting 2018-19 coming up with intensive work with professional conductors, a residential course and another Royal Albert Hall showcase in March 2019. As a result, every member of the orchestra is recruited anew each year to ensure the very highest level of music making in all sections.

100% attendance at BYSO courses is vital and any absences must be pre-agreed by the BYSO staff team. Please click here for the orchestra’s schedule for the 2018-19 season. Please click here for the terms and conditions of county group membership for 2018-19.

The entry standards* for BYSO 2018-19 are:

Woodwind: Grade 6+ standard

Brass: Grade 6+ standard

Percussion: Grade 5+ standard

Strings: Grade 6+ standard

* You do not need to have taken the relevant exam but must be able to demonstrate that you can play to the required standard in the audition

Everyone who auditions will be required to:

  1. Perform a short (2-3 minute) unaccompanied piece of their own choice. Percussionists should perform a tuned percussion piece.
  2. Prepare a selection of orchestral excerpts (see links below)
  3. Sight read a short unprepared orchestral excerpt
  4. Talk informally with their panel of family instrument specialists about their musical activities and ambitions.

Top Tips (for getting the most out of your audition)

  • Arrive in time for a good warm up (bring spare strings/reeds and accessories as needed)
  • Choose a piece which you can play really well and have performed before – the panel want to hear what you can do, not what you can’t, so that you can show off your true potential
  • Remember to realise the music, not just the notes!
  • Take time to thoroughly prepare all aspects of the audition, not just your solo piece. Good preparation means that you will be less anxious on the day and more able to perform at your best
  • Present yourself and your performance professionally – think about how you will stand/sit, take time to compose yourself before you perform and consider what you might wear
  • You are allowed to make mistakes! It is your overall ability and general musicianship which the panel will assess – so enjoy the performance and take every opportunity to share your own musical ideas

BYSO is now almost full for 2018-19; we only have a few spaces left for violas and double basses. If you would like to apply for a viola or double bass audition then please e-mail our County Administrator using to request an audition.

Good Luck!

Filming: Berkshire Maestros reserves the right to make a video recording of all Academy and County Group auditions. This is because we have different teams of assessors and we need to make sure that marking is consistent.  Moderation is done by the Curricular Head and specialised instrument tutors; they are the only people who will see the videos which will be destroyed once the assessment has concluded.

Orchestral excerpts
For your audition, you will be required to play orchestral extracts. Please see below the list of extracts for each instrument and the PDF download with all the required sections. 

Strings: Sections as marked
Double Bass

Woodwind: Sections as marked

Brass – Sections as marked
French Horn
Tuba (J through to two before L)

Percussion – Sections as marked

Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra

BYSO cellos


BYSO Brass


BYSO Drums


BYSO Trombones


BYSO Flute







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