Audition piece help?

September 2, 2013 at 06:29 PM · I'm auditioning for a pretty prestigious youth orchestra with a lot of talent, and I'm wondering which piece I should play for my audition: Wieniawski's Concerto No. 1 in D Major or Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole (1st Movt)?

Wieniawski is more difficult for me, and I feel more confident playing Lalo but will the judges mark me down for playing an easier piece? Really, my question is should I play a harder piece but not do as well or play the easier piece and do much better? Just as a reference, I know a girl who played Lalo in 9th grade and got in to the orchestra, but I'll be in 11th grade when auditioning.

Replies (20)

September 2, 2013 at 08:51 PM · Play the Lalo fast, brilliantly and passionately. It is a better overall piece. Compared to the second concert, Wieniawski 1 is just badly written music.

September 2, 2013 at 08:55 PM · It doesn't matter.

The committee hearing the violins has heard these pieces thousands of times. It's more about your ability to play the right rhythms, right notes, in tune, with good tone, and shape musical lines than what piece you pick.

I just listened to hundreds of students for youth orchestra auditions these past two weeks and I'll take a clean, beautiful, Mozart 5 over any sloppy romantic period concerto any day of the week.

September 2, 2013 at 11:28 PM · Yes, Mozart is extremely difficult to play really well. Gene, in my boyhood we took the view that Mozart 4 is more difficult than Mozart 3, but Mozart 5 is more difficult still. I'm not so sure now about the relative difficulty of 4 & 5. Hasn't 4 got more pitfalls, and isn't it more difficult to get the phrasing, etc just right in it, i.e., isn't it more exposed? I don't think it's for nothing that Miranda Fulleylove took 4, rather than 5 to Sandor Vegh's masterclass (I can't swear to it that she didn't take 5 in a different year!).

September 3, 2013 at 12:53 AM · Play Lalo.

A great Lalo > a mediocre Wieniawski

In general, always play something you are absolutely confident in for an audition. If you are insecure in playing a piece, chances are you will crash and burn in an audition. I know from experience.

September 3, 2013 at 01:38 AM · Always play the piece you play best. ALWAYS! ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS!!! Nothing turns off the judges more than a sloppy performance of a piece that is too difficult for you.

September 11, 2013 at 09:41 PM · Just adding my agreement to the above. What are they supposed to think after sitting through a bad performance? "Well, he sucks, but he tried?" That is not a winning comment ;-) With my own students I generally recommend they play a piece that is at least one notch below their current technical level in pressure situations. Remember, if it's not secure at home, it will be less so when the nerves kick in.

Good luck!

September 11, 2013 at 11:32 PM · +1.

You want to show the panel what you CAN do, not what you can't.

And in response to someone's comments about the Mozart concertos - No 4 is deadly! That entry and the first 14 bars are full of pitfalls, especially with audition nerves. I know - I did it. Once!

September 12, 2013 at 12:46 AM · And there's hardly ANY passage that even in practice I can play without either overdoing or underdoing the expression/length/spiccato/accenting/phrasing, etc. - And if once I think I got it right I make a stupid scratch or go out of tune on the next note. Ah, Beethoven first movement, come back, all is forgiven! Sinfonia Concertante, come back, all is forgiven!

September 12, 2013 at 08:41 PM · Greetings,

wieniawski concerto no 1 in F sharp minor

wieniawski concerto no 2 in d minor



September 12, 2013 at 11:44 PM · Then that No 1 in D major must in reality be by Casadesus!

September 13, 2013 at 01:29 AM · or Suzuki book 2



September 13, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Well, if I, I can find Mozart 4 to be more difficult than the Beethoven ...

If Jay is finding Suzuki Book 2 more difficult than the Lalo, it does raise the question of whether the Lalo he has is the Lalo we know. I know it's not one of the concertos my father simplified for Bosworth (plug, plug), so someone else must have done it. Is it Suzuki Book 1?

September 13, 2013 at 11:07 PM · its called lilolalo



September 14, 2013 at 02:12 PM · Lie low, Lalo - What next?

Are you saying that Wieniawski is when Christopher Robin's companion went on a winter sports holiday to the Alps and came a cropper?

September 17, 2013 at 04:05 AM · a LILO is an inflatable device for recreation

As are violinists....

February 6, 2014 at 08:27 PM · Just discovered (Apologies to everyone else who know it all along) that Suzuki put Mozart 5 in/as Book 9 and Mozart 4 in/as Book 10. So we are not alone.

February 8, 2014 at 12:06 AM · From the audition list of a (full-time) professional orchestra.

The first movement of W. A. Mozart Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Orchestra in G Major K.216


The first movement of W. A. Mozart Concerto No. 4 for Violin and Orchestra in D Major K.218


The first movement of W. A. Mozart Concerto No. 5 for Violin and Orchestra in A Major K.219


One movement of a contrasting romantic concerto or contemporary piece of your own choice.

And I've seen similar requirements elsewhere.

In other words, you can choose to show off your virtuosity, but we want to see what your control is like.

February 8, 2014 at 09:49 AM · control ... yes, and performance musicianship as well (Actually, I'm surprised No 3 was on that list, rather than the last movement of No 4, which is excruciatingly demanding on control, especially if you're going to play that pedal section the way Mozart clearly meant it to be played - When he wanted demarcation in the bottom G, HE WROTE IT IN as such).

Was this the New Philharmonia? I ask, because I remember reading an interview with Carl Pini, when he said that in order to improve, Britain's orchestras needed to play more Mozart.

February 8, 2014 at 04:42 PM · This list was actually from the RTE Concert Orchestra, but I've seen similar lists from other orchestras in the past but presumably they're only up on the web sites when they have vacancies.

Actually, the best audition idea I've ever come across was my leader in Bristol, Peter Mountain. As part of the audition, you played a duet with him. Not the most demanding technically, but I can't think of a better way of telling whether someone can fit with other players.

February 8, 2014 at 07:10 PM · That's a really good idea, but I hope he had second opinion with him - A listener can sometimes detect things that a participator can't.

Actually it would really come into its own when auditioning a VIOLIST. The only real alternative is to insist on their playing that arrangement of the Mozart G-major violin - Stamitz and Hofmeister aren't the same somehow. But if you do duets you can specify the Sinfonia Concertante (probably not as fiendish for control as the earlier ones) or one of the Mozart duets.

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