DSO Concerto Competition


"There is no top. There are always further heights to reach." -Jascha Heifetz

Duke University Symphony Orchestra Concerto Audition Guidelines


The Duke University Symphony Orchestra concerto auditions provide an opportunity for students to audition for and be selected to perform a concerted work with the Duke Symphony Orchestra as part of the educational experience of all involved.

A general outline of events connected with the Duke Symphony Orchestra Annual Concerto Auditions is included below. A copy of the guidelines, including eligibility, repertoire and procedural requirements, will be posted on Professor Davidson's information board (077) and is also available from applied faculty and the Music Department Office. For questions regarding this schedule or any matter concerning the Concerto Auditions, please contact Professor Davidson at at (919) 660-3324 or by e-mail.


The concerto auditions are open to any Duke University student (including undergraduate, graduate, music major, and non-music major students). A student who has been selected to perform is ineligible to audition the following year.


Audition repertoire should consist of a single movement work, a movement or combination of movements, or 1 or 2 arias from the standard literature. The same movement(s) or excerpts must be performed for both the auditions and the concerts. The maximum performance length will be 20 minutes.


The orchestra music director will announce the date of the auditions approximately 2 months in advance. By a date at least 1 month after the initial audition announcement and 2 weeks prior to the auditions, application to audition must be made and the student’s choice of repertoire must be approved by the orchestra music director. If requested, a full orchestra score must be provided by the student to the orchestra music director in advance of this date. Applications are available from applied music teachers, the orchestra music director, or from the music department office.

One week prior to the auditions, the orchestra music director will announce the audition schedule, including an assigned time for each auditioner. Any changes to the published schedule must be approved by the orchestra music director, and are generally discouraged.

An accompanist is required for the auditions, and it will be the responsibility of each auditioner to secure one.

The audition and performance must be performed by memory. Any alteration in the memory rule will be decided solely by the orchestra music director. The only reasons for alterations in the memory rule will be for difficulty of contemporary literature or instrumental performance practice.


The jury for the concerto auditions shall consist of a minimum of 2 or as many as 3 music department faculty members with the orchestra music directory serving as facilitator and advisor. Each auditioner will provide at least 3 copies of the score of the concerto for the jury. The jury is charged with selecting the performance(s) of highest quality. Written comments from each jury member are required. The evaluation system used by the jury will be at its own collective discretion.

In conjunction with the Duke Symphony Orchestra season's programming, the jury will select a student or students to perform with the orchestra on 1 or 2 of the regularly scheduled orchestra concerts during the spring semester. However, the jury should limit itself to a total of 1 or 2 20-minute pieces of music respectively. The orchestra music director will advise jury members in this regard. Honorable mentions and/or runners up may also be awarded at the jury's discretion.