Due to the sheer number of excellent musicians at Imperial, membership of the Symphony Orchestra is through audition. Auditions are held at the start of the academic year, within the first two weeks, and you can find us on social media, or at the annual Freshers’ Fair to sign up.

Audition FAQs

What grade should I be?

There is no required grade to join. The average standard of members is around Grade 8 and amongst us are several ex-members of the National Youth Orchestra, as well as graduates of the junior conservatoires. But don’t be put off – anyone is welcome to audition!

When are auditions held?

The next round of auditions for ICSO will be in Autumn of 2023. Check back later for audition dates!

How do I sign up to audition?

Find us during Welcome Week at the start of the year – we will be publicising audition signup forms on both our social media platforms, and in person at the Fresher’s Fair.

Who will be on the audition panel?

Auditions are held joint with Imperial College Sinfonietta, so the conductors and chairs of committee for both Sinfonietta and ICSO will be present. Section leaders may also be present for some auditions.

What does the audition involve?

Audition slots are 10 minutes, in which time you will be asked to perform a piece unaccompanied for 5 minutes and then do some sight-reading.

Will I be able to practice beforehand?

You should arrive 10-15 minutes before your allocated audition time to warm up. A practice room will be provided. If you wish to book more time to practice in one of the College practice rooms, you will need to contact the Blyth Centre.

Will there be an accompanist?

An accompanist will not be provided and thus we ask that you prepare a piece without accompaniment. This enables us to keep auditions fair considering that there are auditionees who cannot provide their own accompanist. Your piece does not have to originally be unaccompanied – just pick something that shows off what you can do!

When will I hear the outcome?

You will find out the results of your audition shortly afterwards – usually within a week. Entry to ICSO can be incredibly competitive, so don’t worry if you don’t get in the first time – you can try again later in the year if a vacancy arises, or in the next year.

Would you like to play a concerto?

ICSO provides opportunities for students and professionals alike to be considered for a concerto performance. Auditions for this are held once a year in the Spring. You will be asked to play 10/15 minutes from all movements of the concerto an an accompanist will be provided although you may bring your own if you wish to. Please get in touch if you’d like to hear more!