Opera North Orchestra Academy

24 – 29 August 2020

Apply to audition

The Opera North Orchestra Academy is an immersive orchestral training programme for outstanding young musicians age 14–19 Grade 7+ in school years 10–13 from across the North of England and beyond.

Summer Residency

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. While meeting like-minded young musicians you will take your performance skills to the next level and be a part of thrilling orchestral performances.

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

  • Side-by-side rehearsal 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 conductor
  • Opportunity to rehearse and perform opera repertoire

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

Further Opportunities

Applicants to the 2020 Orchestra Academy over the age of 16 can use their audition to also apply for the Opera North Youth Orchestra, a professional training ensemble and excellent learning opportunity for motivated young musicians in the North.

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£560 (Residential) | Limited bursaries available
  • Opera North, Leeds

How to apply
Entry is through live audition (video applications may be accepted in some circumstances)
Applications for auditions are now open, apply here. Deadline to submit will be 30 March
Auditions will be held at School of Music, University of Leeds on Sunday 26 April.

Any questions?
Please get in with touch with Orchestral Activity Manager Emma Barnett at emma.barnett@operanorth.co.uk or on 0113 223 3623.

Hear from the participants...

Frequently Asked Questions

Outstanding young musicians aged 14–19 in school years 10–13 from across the north of England and beyond who play an orchestral instrument to Grade 7+ level:

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

We encourage applications from secondary school students and anyone aged 19 and below.

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:

  • An informal workshop; playing pre-prepared orchestral excerpts and learning about working together as part of an orchestral section
  • An individual audition with the same players from the Orchestra of Opera North

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.


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.

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 our Orchestral Activity Manager Emma Barnett at emma.barnett@operanorth.co.uk or on 0113 223 3626

Recent projects

In its second year Opera North Orchestra Academy of 2019 welcomed young musicians from all over the UK and further to the School of Music at the University of Leeds. Over five days the academy worked in sectional and tutti rehearsals, led by Lee Reynolds and coached by musicians of the Orchestra of Opera North, concluding in a final concert at the Great Hall of the University of Leeds.

The Academy explored the different elements of Kurt Weill’s music, centring around his rarely performed Symphony No. 2 as well as two arias from Street Scene (Somehow I Never Could Believe, A Boy Like You) which Opera North will stage in early 2020. Weill’s versatility as a composer was placed in context of works of two of his contemporaries, Eric Korngold (Theme & Variations) and Giacomo Puccini (La Boheme) from which Academy performed Donde Lieta Usci and Mi Chiamano Mimi together with soprano Sarah Redgwick.

The Academy participants displayed their musical versatility with an exciting and unique arrangement of George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm by conductor Lee Reynolds.

Hear from previous participants

Opera North Orchestra Academy
Opera North Orchestra Academy

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