NYO Audition

October 4, 2012 at 02:18 AM · Hi, I'm a violinist from KY, and I want to audition for the national youth orchestra.

But before I put a lot of work into auditioning I want to know what chance I have of getting in. I really really want to get in but I'm not sure what I'm up against. I'm not a particularly good violinist but I work really hard and I play decently. I'm the concertmaster of my youth orchestra but it's not a very good youth orchestra. I'm also fifth chair second violin in a college orchestra nearby. I'm currently studying Zigeunerweisen, and the Hyden symphony 104.

I've already learned the Mozart violin concerto in g major. but I haven't learned a classical violin concerto yet.

I've played Rimsky korsakov's capriccio espagnol in my last concert and I've played the last movement of Beethoven's fifth symphony.

So, do I have a chance of getting in?

I love playing violin and it would be the most amazing thing to play in the NYO but I'd rather practice something else if I know I don't have much chance of getting in.

Thanks for any help.

Replies (20)

October 4, 2012 at 04:07 AM · Trying can't hurt.

October 4, 2012 at 07:21 AM · I have heard it said that it's not so much WHAT you play as HOW you play it.

Recalling my own ambition to enter the NYO of Great Britain, they allowed more than one audition attempt before they let me in. "If at first you don't succeed. try. try again" !!

October 4, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Well, if you don't start, you won't finish. Your list of repertoire is pretty varied and pretty advanced. How beautifully and expressively you play them is more important.

October 4, 2012 at 02:08 PM · Bethany, as Corwin said, "trying can't hurt." Besides, apart from repertoire (different for audition, I would guess) what would you lose by trying? You'd practice either way, pay the same concentration to your playing.

Learning to audition well is a great skill--necessary! Aim high, and enjoy the experience.

October 5, 2012 at 12:31 AM · If you are thinking about auditioning for next year, I hope you have already registered -- the registration closed on September 7, 2012.

October 5, 2012 at 01:34 AM · This is kind of besides the point of your question, but you don't need to apologize for where you or your orchestra is musically. I kind of got that sense from your post, and if that makes sense, then I think it can be an unhelpful mindset.

To clarify, when you say you aren't a particularly good violinist, it's a very loaded statement. It may not be exactly what you mean, but it implies that you aren't where you should be, or that you are comparing yourself to others in a way that reflects on who you are. Of course, it can be hard to describe in words where you are, and sometimes we resort to shorthand, but it was just something that jumped out at me, and I may have read into too much.

October 5, 2012 at 01:59 AM · Christian Lesniak

I don't really understand what you mean...

David Beck

You got in? that's awesome!

I only have one chance considering I'll be in college next year but I'm going to try my hardest.

marjory lange

Well it can't hurt in some ways but it could hurt in others. If I spend my time practicing for the NYO than I'll be spending less or no time on my other music which is really important right now considering I have several auditions coming up. However I think I'm going to go ahead and audition.

I have registered.

as for how I play? I don't think I would be the best one to judge that. I play decently.

Compared to other violinists in my aria I'm the second best. I don't know if any of that was helpful.

October 5, 2012 at 02:10 AM · audition excerpts for this year Take a look at the audition excerpts and see what you think it will take to prepare. Ask your teacher for a plan to prepare.

October 5, 2012 at 01:00 PM · Short-term vs. long-term thinking, maybe, Bethany. It's likely you'll need to learn the material covered by the NYO sometime, so why not now?

Also, the SKILLS involved in any piece will always translate to other pieces of music. Every student I've ever met made a quantum leap as a player when s/he finally realized that every set of notes is connected at some level by the skills needed to play every other set of notes. That mindset means that NO piece is without value...in the long term. Learning to play say, Ein Heldenleben, in a relaxed, competent manner will mean that when/if you play the Beethoven Violin Concerto, it will be 'easier,' for having studied and mastered the Strauss. NOTHING is wasted, except time spent carelessly.

October 5, 2012 at 03:45 PM · Marjory, Basically I agree with you but there is a benefit in finding a reasonable sequence and progression to difficulty. Opening up Paganini before starting Kreutzer will likely cause frustration, promote bad habits and possibly even lead to injury.

But the NYO audition music, though difficult, isn't so vastly different from Bethany's current repertory that she shouldn't give it a shot.

October 5, 2012 at 03:57 PM · One more observation. In Texas we have three All State orchestras and the major metropolises have several all region orchestras each. The audition music is the same for all. They tend to be advanced etudes that are entirely reasonable for an All State level player but frequently too hard for the likely back stand players in the regional orchestras. But every year all the teachers are consumed for several months with etudes that are way ahead of where their students are. Now one could say that it is what the students want but in some cases the high school teachers, anxious to claim success for their programs, require all the students to prepare the ├ętude and audition for them as a chair test. Only a small fraction of high school players can even play the simpler Kreutzer etudes let alone Rode, Dont, Fiorillo, and yes, even Paganini, that are typical for the All State list.

October 6, 2012 at 07:36 AM · Using etudes as audition material for an Allstate orchestra is so stupid. That's like hiring a sushi chef based on how well they can make birthday cakes.

October 6, 2012 at 01:42 PM · @Corwin--valid point about progression through studies; like you, I didn't see a huge discrepancy between what Bethany now performs and the likely audition repertoire. Otherwise, I agree completely; trying to prepare pieces over one's head is foolish (like starting the Bach solo s/p too early, just 'cause you can master most of the notes).

@ Michael--Not sure I see the problem of including etudes in an audition. Surely the audition is not ONLY etudes? If they are one component, they do show things excerpts from orch. works don't.

October 6, 2012 at 04:38 PM · It's like asking "will a size 8.5 shoe fit me?"

Who can possibly know?

Well, actually, there's no longer any reason to guess at someone's level, thanks to widely available technology. It's no longer 1990, so no one has any excuse.

I'd suggest the poster play a short work and post on youtube.

October 7, 2012 at 03:09 AM · I don't have a video camera.

October 7, 2012 at 03:44 AM · Christian Lesniak said: To clarify, when you say you aren't a particularly good violinist, it's a very loaded statement. It may not be exactly what you mean, but it implies that you aren't where you should be, or that you are comparing yourself to others in a way that reflects on who you are. Of course, it can be hard to describe in words where you are, and sometimes we resort to shorthand, but it was just something that jumped out at me, and I may have read into too much.

I said that I am not a particularly good violinist because I believe this is a fairly accurate judgment of my playing. Basically, what I mean, is I am not an exceptional violinist compared to other violinists my age.

I believe I am judging my playing with practicality and how well I really play. If I thought that I was good I would be lying to myself and wouldn't practice because I would be content. I don't think I'm a bad violinist, but I know I'm not any where near as good as I can be. I don't think it affects who I am, it just makes me practice more.

I have met a lot of other musicians who think they are really good and they are not good at all and I don't want to fall into that category. Maybe saying that I wasn't particularly good was the wrong way to say it and gave the wrong impression but I'm just trying to be honest.

So to rephrase that.

I don't think I am an exceptional violinist Compared to other good violinist my age.

October 7, 2012 at 04:12 AM · Marjory, I wrote that because I believe that this requirement is not contextually representative of what is required for professional auditions and I see an ethical issue in ruling out students whose teachers might not have assigned them Paganini caprices yet. They are not used in professional orchestra auditions (well, none that I've ever heard about). There are plenty of orchestral excerpts that demonstrate technique. Students should not be ruled out for not having played repertoire that isn't even really necessary or applicable in an orchestral setting.

It sounds to me like the people who decided to require Paganini caprices are most likely people who don't actually know what to listen for in an audition. I think people just think of the caprices when they think of violin pieces that are "hard". The result is a decision that in my opinion sounds like it was based on ignorance.

October 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Sorry, Michael, I saw no mention of Paganini in the discussion of etudes. Must have missed it; if that's the 'etude' in question, I agree entirely.

Otherwise, however, etudes offer a few advantages over excerpts for inexperienced or less experienced (in orchestral terms) players: they are complete in themselves; they don't rely on a conductor's choices of interpretation so they are simpler to assimilate; they are readily available; and they are played solo normally. For these reasons, included WITH orchestral excerpts, they make some sense for student auditions.

@Bethany; although technology does make some things easier to assess, your lack of one is no reason to think you can't/shouldn't audition (if that is what you are thinking, which I can't know).

If you and your teacher think it a worthwhile endeavor, and if you want to, then do it. If not, not. As with the 8.5 shoe mentioned above, only way to really know if it fits is to wear it. After all, in any given audition your own talent is only one element of success: if ALL the other players are better, you won't get in. If SOME are, you could. And every one of them is probably asking much the same question you are.

October 7, 2012 at 03:00 PM · One year Paganini 16 was a required ├ętude. The etudes are usually round one of the audition process and determine placement in the All-Region orchestras. Round Two for All State is excerpts from the planned repertory. There is no direct route to All State.

October 7, 2012 at 04:17 PM · Web video cameras are incredibly cheap.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

2023 Authenticate LA: Los Angeles Violin Shop
2023 Authenticate LA

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine