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Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra Auditions

Welcome to the auditions for membership of Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra 2020-21.

We are delighted that you are auditioning for BYSO for 2020-21 and we hope that you enjoy preparing, practising and performing for your audition. Auditions for new members of the orchestra will take place on Saturday 26 September 2020 at Reading Music Centre.

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 included works by, amongst others, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rodrigo and de Falla. To catch up with BYSO's most recent activity, click here.

100% attendance at BYSO courses is vital and any absences must be pre-agreed by the BYSO staff team.

The entry standards* for BYSO 2020-21 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

To register your interest for a BYSO audition, please complete the registration form here. If you want to make any enquiries about the auditions, please e-mail 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. 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 Timpani.

Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra


BYSO cellos


BYSO Brass


BYSO Drums


BYSO Trombones


BYSO Flute







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