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Ulster Orchestra opens applications for its 4th Professional Experience Scheme

For a fourth successive year, applications are invited to join our Professional Experience Scheme (PES), in partnership with the Ulster Youth Orchestra.

For a fourth 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 2020/21 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

Three times during the 2020/21 Season, successful applicants will come to Belfast to join with 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 from within the Orchestra, develop skills in auditioning, orchestral section playing and observe and participate in the UO’s Learning and Community Engagement projects, as well as taking part in a variety of other activities and training opportunities.

Eligibility

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. Applications will be accepted from all orchestral instruments with the exception of piano and harp. Applications cannot be accepted from those under 18. 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, undertaking three periods with the orchestra during the 2020/21 season, to include a variety of music with different conductors. PES students will be supported by a mentor from within the section throughout these visits and will receive regular feedback, with a written report at the end of the scheme.

The section gave me lots of different ways in which I could improve what I was doing, and live feedback meant I was constantly progressing as a player during rehearsals

During the first period, PES students will sit in on rehearsals under the guidance of Colin Stark (Education Liaison), listening to and observing the relevant section, enabling 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 their PES mentor, the conductor and in agreement with the rest of the section) they may be asked to replace a UO player in a public performance, if their playing 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.

I really enjoyed my time in Good Shepherd Primary School. I felt that it was a great insight into the different types of situations that we can find ourselves in as musicians

Students will also take part in a variety of other activities and training opportunities throughout the scheme aimed at developing them personally and professionally, including one to one lessons with their mentor, mock orchestral auditions, coaching sessions with Jonathan Simmance (Animateur) in delivering workshops in a community or educational setting, as well as taking part in functional movement classes, mentor talks and performance enhancement sessions delivered by visiting specialists. Travel to Belfast from the student’s usual place of study and any local travel costs will be paid for by the Orchestra.

It has been a great way to add to my experience of playing in professional orchestras and it is an experience that will aid me in the world of professional orchestral music

How to apply

Applications are open now, until 1200 on Monday 10 August 2020, by email only to Ruth Millar, Deputy Orchestra Manager, using the address [email protected]. Please include “UO PES 4” in the subject field. Applications will be accepted from all orchestral instruments with the exception of piano and harp. Applications cannot be accepted from those under 18.

Applicants should attach a PDF or Word document of 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.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to audition at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on Monday 7 September 2020. Applicants will be asked to play a 5-minute own-choice piece and some orchestral excerpts (which will be made available after shortlisting takes place).

Successful applicants will agree a schedule of engagement across the season with the Deputy Orchestra Manager. All applicants will receive a written report on their audition.

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