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Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

Audition Schedules

Auditions & Placement | String auditions | Harp auditions
Wind auditions | OJYO auditions | OYO auditions

Auditions and Placement

With the exception of the beginners programs, members audition annually to determine the appropriate placement in one of the Academy's ensembles or orchestras.

Auditions are conducted in September each year. New members may be admitted during the season where openings exist, subject to a successful audition.

To ensure the best service to our membership only registrations received (including payment) up to midnight of Labour Day will be scheduled for the initial audition weekend. Registrations received after Labour Day will have auditions scheduled after the official audition weekend. Please note that there are limited slots for some instruments and precedence will be given to musicians who register on or before Labour Day.

  • • Placement is by audition, not by age or number of years in the Academy.
  • • The audition requirements that have been specified for each ensemble reflect the minimum level of achievement expected of those auditioning. In other words, the ability to play these pieces is not a guarantee of admission to the ensemble.
  • • All children who audition will be offered a place in an ensemble, even if not the one for which the child is auditioning.  If the child does not accept the placement and withdraws, the family will receive a refund minus the audtion fee and administration fee. There is an audition fee included in the fees for Orchestras (OYO and OJYO) and all other Ensembles that require audition.
  • • Audition time is limited - not all material will necessarily be played
  • • The decisions of the audition panel are final.
  • • Seating in the ensemble or orchestra is decided by the Conductor and may be changed at any time.
  • • The Conductor may hold additional auditions through the year for soloists. Registrants for theory and history courses may be asked to take a placement test to ensure that they have adequate background training. Placement tests are held in conjunction with performance auditions.

Auditions may be a stressful experience for some players (and for their parents!). They are, however, a fact of life in musical performance. The audition experience is an integral part of the training that the Academy provides - and a process that helps our conductors and coaches to select the most appropriate repertoire for their ensembles.

The most important reason for the audition process is the requirement that every member of the orchestra or ensemble is capable of learning the repertoire selected by the conductor. In fact, the conductor will often not finalize the choice of pieces for the year until he or she has been able to assess the overall capability of the orchestra.

Secondly, the number of openings for some instruments in the Orchestras is constrained by the need to maintain the balance among the various sections of the orchestra. This is particularly hard on wind, brass and percussion players - the orchestra may include 20 to 30 violins, but it will likely accommodate only 3 to 5 of each of the wind and brass instruments (another fact of life in the music world).

It may, therefore, not be possible to accept all of those who meet the requirements. Conversely, it is not simply a matter of filling chairs. For example, if an insufficient number of horn players meet the minimum requirements, experience has shown that it is better to have less than the optimum number than to include players who will become disillusioned and frustrated because they are unable to keep up.