Applications are now closed for Southbank Sinfonia 2019

Applications closed on 2 July 2018, but the information below remains on this page as a reference to those who applied.

If you would like to receive an email notification when applications open again in 2019, please leave your details here.

How are you planning to establish your career as a musician?

Every year, we invite 33 players from all over the world to be part of Southbank Sinfonia, undertaking an intensive nine-month fellowship designed to prepare you for all aspects of professional musical life. We are looking for musicians who not only have talent but dedication, team spirit, imagination and willingness to explore and embrace new ideas.

Running from early February to early November 2019, Southbank Sinfonia is an intensive programme that on average will occupy you about four days a week. This always includes three core days from Tuesday to Thursday, though we have a number of concerts and opportunities that arise on other days and provide players with a full list of these ‘dates to note’ when they first join. Some weeks entail just three days; some entail more. Nonetheless, we always strive to ensure you have time almost every week to build other aspects of your career and pursue professional work.

In return for your commitment to the programme, Southbank Sinfonia promises you the opportunity to:

  • Be part of one of Europe’s most exciting young orchestras, renowned for its energy and excellence

  • Develop the stamina needed to cope with the demanding schedules of professional orchestras today by playing in concerts every week, both in central London, around the UK and abroad

  • Master a huge range of repertoire, including essential works that professional orchestras will expect you to know well, embracing numerous styles and disciplines including opera, Baroque, and the latest contemporary music

  • Collaborate with some of the world’s leading orchestral musicians from organisations like the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, making invaluable, lasting contacts with artists who have much insight to offer and may help advance your career

  • Perform on many of London’s iconic stages as well as distinguished venues further afield including a summer residency at the Anghiari Festival in Tuscany, Italy

  • Perform with some of the most admired guest musicians in the business: recent guest artists have included conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Antonio Pappano, Edward Gardner, the Allegri Quartet, jazz champion Guy Barker, and Baroque specialist Adrian Butterfield, to name a few

  • Put yourself at the heart of distinctive, newsworthy performances that challenge convention and celebrate musicians’ limitless potential, in our award-nominated #ConcertLab series

  • Further your skills in a variety of musical roles, assuming all seats within your orchestral section, learning how to excel when leading and following, undertaking a significant range of chamber music projects for which you can recommend repertoire, and audition for a concerto opportunity if you wish

  • Develop the kind of leadership skills that all professional orchestras look for, being a more confident communicator and negotiator, presenting concerts yourself, and becoming an experienced and assured role-model to young people, leading and devising projects of real integrity that inspire younger musicians

  • Receive exclusive ‘mock auditions’ with professional musicians to give you a constructive, supportive taste of applying for professional orchestras, and the chance to transform your CV with the help of our expert staff

  • Define your own personal musical goals and, with our help, evolve the professional toolkit and contacts you need to fulfil these

  • Distinguish yourself among graduates by being part of an orchestra which fixers and figures across the profession recognise for the exceptional standard and outlook of its players

In the words of Mark van de Wiel, Principal Clarinet of the Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta, ‘the level of confidence, skill and musical awareness which they gain in a short time with Southbank Sinfonia is extraordinary. I’d strongly recommend it to any young player embarking on an orchestral career.’

There is no fee to be part of Southbank Sinfonia: every place is free, and it’s free to apply too. Furthermore, every player is awarded a bursary to help towards the cost of living in London which players supplement with income from their own performing and teaching activities. In 2018, the bursary is £8,300.

To be eligible, you should play one of the following orchestral instruments to a high standard and have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate music degree either at music college or university, or achieved an equivalent musical qualification.

Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Percussion

Please note, it is generally not possible to undertake the programme while still studying.

Applications for 2019 are now closed. The information on this page will remain live as a reference to those who have applied.

Below you can find out more about life at Southbank Sinfonia and read some Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any further queries about the programme or the audition process, please do not hesitate to contact us on auditions[AT]southbanksinfonia[DOT]co[DOT]uk or you are welcome to call one of our team on 020 7921 0370 who will be very happy to give advice.


Download our Application Pack for 2019, providing you with instructions and tips on how to apply.

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We naturally expect you to have lots of questions: for some of the most common ones, you will find the answers right here.

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