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Professional Experience Scheme

A mentoring scheme for music students considering a career as an orchestral musician.


About the Scheme: 

We have pleasure in announcing that the application process is now open for our Professional Experience Scheme in the 2024/25 Season. Six places are available in this year’s cohort – please read on for further details and how to apply. 

The Professional Experience Scheme (PES) is designed for musicians who have left school and are studying/planning to study music at tertiary level, or have recently graduated, and are considering a career as an orchestral musician. 

Three times between November 2024 and May 2025, PES students will come to Belfast to join the orchestra in rehearsals, and where appropriate, be invited to play in concerts. During these visits students will receive support and feedback from a dedicated mentor in the orchestra, including one to one lessons with their mentor, develop skills in auditioning, orchestral section playing, and after specialist training with UO Animateur Jonathan Simmance, participate in the UO’s Learning and Community Engagement projects, as well as taking part in a variety of other opportunities aimed at developing them personally and professionally. 

The PES students will visit the Ulster Orchestra together as a cohort and each visit will include a group session for all students and their mentors, to provide collective support and encouragement throughout the Season. 

Flights and accommodation for students on their three visits during the scheme will be paid for by the Ulster Orchestra. 

The Application Process (Applications open 3rd May): 

There will be a two-step audition process. 

Step 1: Applicants should submit a video audition of the below unaccompanied instrument-relevant piece by 12 noon Friday 31st May 2024 (see further details in ‘how to apply’). 


Choice of ONE of the following W. A. Mozart, Violin Concertos: 

No. 3 in G major, K. 216, 1st Movement, without cadenza 

No. 4 in D major, K. 218, 1st Movement, without cadenza 

No. 5 in A major, K. 219, 1st Movement, without cadenza 


F. A. Hoffmeister, Viola Concerto in D major, 1st Movement, without cadenza 


J. Haydn, Cello Concerto No.2 in D major, Hob.VIIb:2, 1st Movement, without cadenza 

Double Bass 

C. Dittersdorf, Double Bass Concerto No.2, Kr.172, 1st Movement, without cadenza 


W. A. Mozart, Andante in C major, K.315/285e 


W. A. Mozart, Oboe Concerto in C major, K.314/271k, 1st Movement, without cadenza 


W. A. Mozart, Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622, 1st Movement, without cadenza 


W. A. Mozart, Bassoon Concerto in B-flat major, K.Anh.230a, 1st Movement, without cadenza  


R. Strauss, Horn Concerto No.1, Op.11, 1st Movement.  


T. Charlier, 36 Études transcendantes, No. 2.  


F. David, Trombone Concertino, Op.4, 1st Movement.  

Bass Trombone 

A. Lebedev, Concerto in one movement. 


R. Vaughan Williams, Tuba Concerto, 1st Movement. 


2 short contrasting pieces - 1 on a tuned instrument and 1 untuned. 

Step 2: Successfully shortlisted applicants will then be invited to a live audition on 29th August 2024 in the orchestra’s residence of Townsend Street Church, Belfast. 

The live audition will be informal and relaxed in nature and there will be an opportunity for feedback post-audition for all applicants. For this audition, you will be asked to prepare some music chosen by the panel of Ulster Orchestra musicians. 


  • Applicants must be aged 18 and over by 1 September 2024 and resident in the UK or Ireland 
  • Places are available for the standard orchestral string, woodwind, brass and percussion groups. We regret we are unable to offer placements for harp and piano. 

We particularly welcome applications from underrepresented communities.  

How to Apply: 

Complete the following Application and Monitoring Form before the closing date of 12 noon Friday 31st May 2024 including: 

  • A video recording, please ensure this is in the form of a private YouTube link. 
  • ​An up-to-date CV, please ensure this is in the form of a downloadable link to Google/One Drive.  

If you have any questions about the scheme, application process or would like further information, please contact [email protected].

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