The violinist in the Philharmonia Orchestra highlights the importance of being prepared for auditions, including why you should learn the full first movement of your Mozart Concerto


Nuno Carapina © Marina Vidor, Philharmonia Orchestra

I’ve been a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra for five years. My audition was just one round audition with no screen. I don’t know exactly how many auditions I’d done prior to that one, but I’d say more than 20. After graduating, it took me a while to understand how I needed to prepare for auditions. There was a lot of trial and error, but eventually I started to have some success. The trial for my current job lasted about a year, and I started with the orchestra six months after I was offered the job.

The most awkward audition story that comes to mind happened when I decided to change the Mozart concerto I play for auditions. As I didn’t have that much time to prepare for this particular audition, I focused on preparing the exposition of the concerto, which is usually all that is asked for. But when I got to the audition, the panel asked me to play the whole first movement. If I had the music in front of me, I think I would have been OK, but of course I had decided to play from memory. I stumbled my way to the end, somehow, but of course, no trial for me.

My biggest piece of advice is probably what your teachers tell you: be prepared. Learn the notes and rhythms impeccably, listen to recordings, and do your research. Perform for your friends and have lessons - this will save you weeks of practising. A panel will recognise if you know your excerpts really well and understand them in context of the whole piece. That counts far more than a few mistakes.

Also, learn the full first movement of your Mozart concerto!

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