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String Auditions

The Fall 2022 string audition schedule is as follows:

Monday, August 22:
1:30 - 3:20 pm, Violas

Tuesday, August 23:
10:30 - 11:30 am, Cellos
11:30 am - 12:30 pm, Basses

Wednesday, August 24:
1:30 - 3:20 pm, Violins

All auditions take place in the orchestra rehearsal room, CMC 124. Make sure to present yourself to the proctor, who will be at the door closest to the lockers and orchestra bulletin board, at least 10 minutes before your audition.

Sign-up sheets for audition times will be posted on the orchestra bulletin board outside of CMC 124 on Tuesday, August 16. Sign up using your name and cell number. 


Audition Excerpts

See below for the excerpts and solo requirements for your instrument (solo is not required for viola).

A word about preparing these excerpts: The metronome markings represent common performance practice, and are given to help you get to know the works they come from, but you should not feel compelled to adhere to them. You can certainly modify them within a range of 10-15 metronome marks in either direction. The important things to focus on are not exact metronome adherence but rather a vivid sense of the music and (this is actually part of that vivid sense) strong rhythm - no rushing or dragging, and a vital feeling of pulse.

If the excerpt is unfamiliar to you (and even if it isn’t) find a recording and a full score to supplement your orchestral part, so that you can study and understand what else is going on in the orchestra at the moment of the excerpt. Scores are available online on the IMSLP website, and YouTube will provide many recordings.

A useful way to practice will be to arrange a certain number of mock auditions for yourself after you’ve learned the excerpts. Ask friends or family to listen to you as judges, or record yourself playing. This sort of work will help you a great deal in getting ready for your audition.

Please remember that the auditions are our way of getting to know you. We understand the challenges they bring your way, but try to prepare and play them with joy and beauty. We’re looking forward very much to hearing you.

If you have any questions about the excerpts or how to prepare for your audition, please contact Dr. Shames at


1. Solo work of your choice (1-2 minutes)

2. SCHUMANN Scherzo (mvt. 2) from Symphony no. 2, m. 1-49 (with repeat)

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on page 8
  • Metronome range: quarter note = 132-144

3. MOZART Symphony No. 39, second movement, m. 1-27 (no repeat)

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on page 5
  • Metronome marking: eighth note = approx. 92

4. TCHAIKOVSKY Overture from Nutcracker Suite, 5 measures after F to end (top line)

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on page 4
  • Metronome marking: quarter note = approx. 126 - 132


1. BERLIOZ: Roman Carnival Overture, from the C# pickup to the 3rd bar after Figure 1 (key change) through the end of the 8th measure after Figure 3

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on page 1
  • Metronome marking = as marked by composer

2. TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for Strings, mvt. I, from the 2nd half of m.65 (D-Eb) to the downbeat of m.118 (i.e. from the middle of the 13th bar after Figure B until 4 bars before figure F). NOTE: play only upper notes of all double-stops (upper divisi)

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on pages 1-2
  • Metronome marking = as marked by composer

3. BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5, mvt. 2, m. 1-10 and 72-86

  • PDF link
  • Excerpts are on pages 4-5
  • Use composer's metronome marking

4. MOZART: Symphony No. 35, mvt. 4, m. 134-181

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on page 6
  • Typical performance tempo is 144/half-note, but can be played slightly slower for clarity and accuracy.


1. Solo work of your choice (1-2 minutes)

2. BEETHOVEN: Symphony no. 5, mvt. 2, theme and variations 1 and 2

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is from beginning to m. 106
  • Use printed metronome marking

3. BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2, mvt. 2, m. 1-17

  • PDF link
  • Metronome marking: quarter note = 52 appx.

4. MOZART: Symphony No. 40, mvt. 1, m. 114-134

  • PDF link
  • Excerpt is on page 2
  • Metronome marking: quarter note = 112-116 appx.

5. BEETHOVEN: Coriolanus Overture, m. 102-154

  • PDF link
  • Metronome marking: quarter note = 108 appx.


1. Solo work of your choice (1-2 minutes)

2. WAGNER: Overture to Die Meistersinger, Rehearsal J to end

3. BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2, mvt. 2, Rehearsal E-F

4. BACH: Orchestra Suite No. 2, Polonaise: Double (w/o repeat) and Badinierie (w/o repeat)