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Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra Auditions

BYSO is now full for 2019-20 so we are not currently auditioning for new members. Please check back with us in Spring 2020 to find out about arrangements for auditioning for 2020-21. 

The standard of music making achieved in BYSO continues to improve year on year, evident in Maestros' showcase concert at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2019 and their tour to Italy in July 2018. 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.

During 2019-20 the concert repertoire will include works by, amongst others, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rodrigo and de Falla. Our concerts will be conducted by Jonathan Burnett, except for the October concert which will be conducted by the professional conductor Pete Harrison.

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 2019-20 season. To catch up with BYSO's most recent activity, click here.

The entry standards* for BYSO 2019-20 are:

Woodwind: Grade 7

Brass: Grade 7

Percussion: Grade 6

Strings: Grade 7

* 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 the links at the bottom of this page to download the excerpts)
  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

If you want to make any enquiries about auditioning for BYSO in the future please e-mail

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. There will also be on the spot sight reading for all sections.

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

Percussion – Sections as marked
As part of the audition process there will also be a tuning exercise on Timps.

Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra

BYSO cellos


BYSO Brass


BYSO Drums


BYSO Trombones


BYSO Flute







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