Summer Orchestra Academy

22-27 August 2022

This event has passed.

Applications have officially closed, please get in touch to submit a late application. We especially welcome applications from string, brass and percussion players.

The Summer Orchestra Academy is an immersive orchestral training programme for outstanding school-aged musicians studying Grade 7+ in the North of England and beyond, offering world-class orchestral training experience in an inspirational and supportive environment.

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

  • In-depth insight into working with a professional orchestra and conductor
  • Sectional coaching and mentoring from players from the Orchestra of Opera North designed to develop excellence in ensemble skills and orchestral performance
  • Opportunity to rehearse and perform opera repertoire with soloists from Opera North
  • A side by side rehearsal with the full Orchestra of Opera North

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

For 2022 Orchestra Academy participants living outside of Leeds, there will be a residential option for the week. We actively encourage young musicians from all over the UK to apply.

£330 non-residential. £560 residential*

Open to school-aged musicians studying Grade 7+

Application deadline
Monday 9 May 2022

Audition date
Sunday 22 May 2022, all day.

How to apply
Click on ‘Apply to audition’ at the top of this page and fill in your details. We will then be in touch with more details including audition times.

Any questions?
Please get in with touch with Youth Orchestral Manager Emma Barnett at

*Bursaries and payment plans available. Find full details in FAQs below.

Application & audition

Participation in the Summer Orchestra Academy is by audition each year. Applicants should be comfortable with the repertoire and technical work at Grade 7 standard or higher.

The audition will comprise of 2 parts:

  1. An orchestral workshop, playing side by side with members of the Orchestra of Opera North. You will be given some music to read in advance.
  2. An individual audition. You will be asked to prepare the except listed below as well as an unaccompanied piece of your choice (no more than 2 minutes long). We will confirm your allocated audition time once applications have closed.

Your Audition Piece

The solo piece is of your choosing, and should be a piece you enjoy playing, lasting no more than 2 minutes. It can be a movement or excerpt from a concerto, a sonata or a solo piece. Your piece could be an accompanied or unaccompanied work, but the audition itself will be unaccompanied. Where possible, it should be a piece originally written for the instrument.

Audition Excerpts

Please see the individual audition excerpts below:
Woodwind Audition Excerpts
Brass Audition Excerpts
Percussion Audition Excerpts
String Audition Excerpts
Harp Audition Excerpts

These excerpts form an important part of the audition and applicants should ensure that they are well known and prepared. We would encourage you to listen to recordings as you learn them.

Your audition panel will be made up of players from the Orchestra of Opera North – they’re a friendly bunch! We believe everyone should have the chance to develop their practice and performance skills, and have a positive audition experience, whatever the outcome.

All applicants will receive verbal feedback during the audition. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

School aged musicians, studying Grade 7 or above on an orchestral instrument. We actively encourage young musicians from all over the UK to apply. We will audition the following instruments:

  • Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass
  • Woodwind: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon
  • Brass: French Horn, Trumpet, Tenor Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba
  • Timpani/Percussion
  • Harp

Yes. We want to ensure that costs do not create a barrier to taking part and are able to offer financial assistance to those who wouldn’t be able to join without support. Please get in touch to see if you are eligible for a bursary place.

It is also possible to split the cost into multiple instalments, please get in touch with Youth Orchestral Manager Emma Barnett at to find out more.


For participants who require food and accomodation, it will be provided at the University of Leeds. More information will be communicated in due course. There will be a team of trained staff and  chaperones present for the duration of the academy.

Applicants to the Summer Orchestra Academy might also consider auditioning for the Opera North Youth Orchestra, a professional training ensemble and excellent learning opportunity for motivated young musicians aged 16 to 21.

Howard Opera Centre, 8 Harrison Street, Leeds, LS1 6PA

Summer Orchestra Academy

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