Opera North Orchestra Academy

The Opera North Orchestra Academy is an immersive orchestral training programme for outstanding young musicians age 14 – 19 Grade 7+ from across the North of England and beyond. Meet like-minded young musicians, take your performance skills to the next level and be a part of this thrilling orchestral experience.

Summer Residency

Tuesday 28 August – Saturday 1 September 2018

The Opera North Orchestra Academy summer residential course provides a world-class orchestral training experience with the Orchestra of Opera North in an inspirational and supportive environment. 

Rehearsing and performing exciting orchestral repertoire, Academy musicians will benefit from:

  • Side-by-side rehearsals with the full Orchestra of Opera North
  • Sectional coaching with players from the Orchestra of Opera North designed to develop excellence in ensemble skills and orchestral performance
  • In-depth insight into working with a professional orchestra and an internationally renowned conductor culminating in a final public concert
  • Additional opportunities to play and rehearse chamber music throughout the week


Further Opportunities

In addition to the summer residential course, you will have the opportunity to take part in residential ‘keeping in touch’ weekends (October Half Term 2018 / February Half Term 2019) and collaborative projects as part of the Opera North Youth Company.

The Opera North Orchestra Academy is designed to complement your existing local youth orchestra membership.


We’re looking for outstanding young musicians aged 14-19 from across the North of England and beyond who play an orchestral instrumental to Grade 7+.

  • Strings: violin, viola, cello, double bass
  • Woodwind: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon
  • Brass: horn, trumpet, trombone
  • Percussion: timpani

We encourage applications from secondary school students, first year students in higher education and anyone aged 19 and below (at the time of the August 2018 residential course).

Where: Leeds College of Music
Cost: The summer course fee is £425 which covers the cost of world-class tuition, full board and accommodation throughout the week. Non-residential option of £275 is also available.
Deadline: Applications have now closed. However, we are still accepting applications from violinists and violists

We want to ensure that costs do not create a barrier to taking part and are able to offer bursary places to successful applicants from families in challenging circumstances. Please indicate on your application form if you would like to be considered for a bursary place.


How do I apply?

Applications have now closed. However, we are still accepting applications from violinists and violists on an ongoing basis.

If you’re interested in applying, please get in touch with Marcus Norman on the details below for more information.

What can I expect on audition day?

Auditions can be nerve-wracking, so we aim to make ours fun and informal, helping you to perform at your best and get the most out of the audition experience.

Led by players from the Orchestra of Opera North (they’re a friendly bunch!) your audition will be in two parts:

  • In the morning you will take part in an informal workshop; playing pre prepared orchestral excerpts and learning about working together as part of an orchestral section
  • In the afternoon you will have an individual audition with the same players from the Orchestra of Opera North

For your individual audition you will be asked to prepare one unaccompanied free choice piece of about 2-3mins (this can be a section of a larger piece) and pre-prepared orchestral excerpts which you can download here. There will also be a short sight-reading exercise.

Everyone will benefit from feedback in the morning workshop on orchestral excerpts and receive insights on playing as part of an orchestra section. We believe everyone should have the chance to develop their  practice and performance skills, and have a positive audition experience, whatever the outcome.

Auditions are completely free.

Please note, for timpani applicants we are only able to accept video recorded auditions. Get in touch on the details below for more information on submitting a recorded audition.


Residential Information

All members of the Academy will receive full board and accommodation at a nearby halls of residence. Social events and pastoral care will be organised by a team of dedicated staff members. Our pastoral staff are highly experienced in working with young people, and are committed to enjoyment and wellbeing during the course.


Any questions?
If you have any questions about the Opera North Orchestra Academy or the audition process, please get in with touch with Orchestral Activity Manager, Marcus Norman at marcus.norman@operanorth.co.uk or phone 0113 223 3500.