Summer Orchestra Academy

23 – 28 August 2021

This event has passed.

The Summer Orchestra Academy is an immersive orchestral training programme for outstanding school-aged musicians studying grade 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 with 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.

In order to adapt easily to changing government guidelines, the 2021 Summer Orchestra Academy will be a non-residential course. We actively encourage young musicians from all over the UK to apply and stay with local family or friends, or organise private accommodation.



How to apply
Our 2021 Summer Orchestra Academy has now passed. If you would like to express your interest in applying for next year’s intake please contact Youth Orchestral Manager Emma Barnett at

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

Audition dates
Live Zoom auditions will be held between 10am –1pm on Saturday 26 June. You will be allocated a specific time slot after applications have closed.

*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 AV recording of a solo piece of your choosing, to be submitted with your application form.
  2. A live zoom audition and informal interview on Saturday 26 June.

AV Recording

The solo piece is of your choosing, and should be a piece you enjoy playing. 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 accompaniment is not necessary for your recording. Where possible, it should be a piece originally written for the instrument and should be something you really enjoy playing. Recordings should be both audio and visual . Please introduce yourself, your instrument and the work you will be playing at the beginning of the recording.

You do not need to record on any special equipment, a laptop, phone or tablet will do. Please make sure that we can see all of you and your instrument clearly in the video. You can record your piece for submission as many times as you like.

Zoom audition

Once applications close, you’ll be given a time for a live Zoom audition on Saturday 26 June. For this part of the audition, you will be asked to prepare three prescribed excerpts from the orchestral repertoire for their instrument, which will be sent out with the details of your Zoom audition. You will be asked to play these excerpts during your audition.

These excerpts form an important part of the audition and applicants should ensure that they are well known and prepared. Your audition panel will be made up of two 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; those who are unable to be offered a place may receive additional brief written feedback after the audition period has ended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Outstanding school aged musicians, studying grade 7 or above on an orchestral instrument, in travelling distance of Leeds. 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

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.

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.


In order to adapt easily to changing government guidelines, the 2021 Summer Orchestra Academy will be a non-residential course. We actively encourage young musicians from all over the UK to apply and stay with local family or friends, or organise private accommodation.

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 in the North. Applications to audition for the 21/22 season close on Monday 5 July.

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

Summer Orchestra Academy

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