Apply | Southbank Sinfonia

Apply for Southbank Sinfonia

Applications to join Southbank Sinfonia in 2018 are now closed. The information on this page will remain online as a reference for those that applied.

To receive an email notification when applications next open in spring 2018, leave your address below:

Every year, we invite 33 players from all over the world to be part of Southbank Sinfonia, undertaking an intensive ten-month programme, 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 late January to late November 2018, Southbank Sinfonia is a concentrated 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 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 many essential works that professional orchestras will expect you to know well, in addition to immersing yourself in numerous styles and disciplines including fully-staged opera, dance and theatre projects, and everything from Baroque to jazz to brand new contemporary music
  • Collaborate with some of the world’s leading orchestral musicians in the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Academy of St Martin in the Fields, 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, plus a summer residency at the Anghiari Festival in Tuscany, Italy
  • Perform with some of the most admired guest musicians in the business: we have recently performed with conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Antonio Pappano, Edward Gardner, Mark Wigglesworth, John Wilson, jazz champion Guy Barker and Baroque specialist Adrian Butterfield, to name a few
  • Further your skills in a variety of musical roles, assuming all seats within your orchestral section, learning how to excel when leading or 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 inspirational projects of real integrity
  • 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 der 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 2017, the bursary is £8,000.

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

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

The application deadline is 12.00 noon BST on Monday 3 July 2017. Selected applicants are then invited to audition in September and interview in October. To find out everything you need to know about applying for Southbank Sinfonia, simply download and read our Application Pack below.

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 or you are welcome to call one of our team on 020 7921 0370 who will be very happy to give advice.

Download Application Pack

Download Application Form

Find out more about life at Southbank Sinfonia

Hear from current and former members, find out more about the careers of our alumni, and watch the highlights from previous years.

Find out more >

Apply for Southbank Sinfonia | Find out more

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Find out more >

Apply for Southbank Sinfonia | FAQs