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Professional Experience Scheme Open

In association with the Ulster Youth Orchestra

For a third successive year, applications are invited to join our Professional Experience Scheme: a programme of coaching and mentoring from Ulster Orchestra members, where young orchestral musicians join the Orchestra for three programmes in the 2019/20 season. 

Playing in a professional orchestra is radically different to a music college orchestra, and getting the opportunity to do that in a range of concerts has been invaluable”

experience that will aid me in the world of professional orchestral music”

Three times during the 2019/20 season, successful applicants will come to Belfast to join with the orchestra in rehearsals, and where appropriate, be invited to play in concerts. Travel to Belfast from the student’s usual place of study and any local travel costs will be paid for by the orchestra.
PES students will receive support and feedback from UO members, develop skills in auditioning, performance practice, orchestral section playing, and also observe and participate in one of the UO’s Learning and Community Engagement projects. We also intend to include sessions on wellbeing as part of a holistic approach to development.
The Scheme is open to present and past members of the Ulster Youth Orchestra who have left school and are studying (or are planning to study) music at tertiary level, or have recently graduated, and are considering a career as an orchestral musician.

Applications from non-UYO members will also be considered. We are unable to accept applications from under-18s.
Participants will be selected by means of competitive audition.

The programme
Successful applicants will have the opportunity to play side by side with the Ulster Orchestra in rehearsals. They will undertake three periods with the orchestra, to include a variety of music with different conductors. During the first period, PES students will sit in on rehearsals, listening to and observing the relevant section. We believe this will enable students to enhance their listening skills and to measure their potential contribution to the section.

For the second and third periods, PES students will play as additional players in rehearsals or (at the discretion of a PES mentor, and in agreement with the rest of the section), they may be asked to replace a UO player in a public performance. They will only be offered a performance opportunity if the mentor and section agree that the playing of the PES student is of an appropriately high standard. Where a PES student replaces a UO player for a performance, the student will be paid the appropriate freelance rate.

PES students will be supported by a mentor from within the section. They will receive regular feedback, and a written report at the end of the scheme.

How to apply
Applications are open now, until 1200 on Monday 5th August 2019, by email only to Patrick McCarthy, Head of Artistic Planning and Operations, using the address [email protected] including “UO PES 3” in the subject field. We are able to accept applications from all orchestral instruments with the exception of piano and harp.
Applicants should attach a PDF or Word document, on one side of A4, including:
  • Name, instrument, age, contact details, current place of study
  • A paragraph of not more than 300 words summarising their academic and playing history, and intentions for further study.
Auditions will be held at the Ulster Hall, Belfast on 27th August. We will ask you to play a 5 minute own choice piece, and some orchestral excerpts, which are accessible via the following link:
Successful applicants will agree a schedule of engagement across the season with the Orchestra Manager. All applicants will receive a written report on their audition. Kindly supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. 


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