You remember the game. The music stops and everybody tries to find a seat, but there are always fewer seats than players and those left standing are out of the frame.
Fast forward to July 2021 at Malvern College, the home of the National Schools Symphony Orchestra (NSSO). The music starts again, but there are fewer seats than in the past as we work within the college’s COVID protocols. Those who delayed applying find themselves out of luck, however keen to return to live music-making.
Since announcing last month that our residential courses will take place this summer, we have been delighted with the positive response and thrilled to receive so many applications. Members who last came together to celebrate our 25th anniversary at Symphony Hall, Birmingham in 2019 will join a host of new players who have successfully auditioned online.
Auditions are being conducted on a rolling basis; there is no formal application deadline and youngsters are being assessed against entry standards rather than against each other. Assuming there are places available, and the audition recording demonstrates the required ability level, we will offer a place in the appropriate orchestra. Early application is most likely to be successful, as there are fewer places available this year, and some sections have filled quickly. We have already had to turn away several promising young players.
At the time of writing there are no places available for flutes, clarinets or trumpets in Philharmonic and Sinfonia, and no vacancies for horns or cellos in Sinfonia. There is only one place left on our unique Conducting Course.