As a Musician

As a Volunteer

Our audition process

We strive to bring forward the best performances we can. Unfortunately, this means that auditions are a necessary part of our musician selection process. We try to keep things pretty simple.

The format of our auditions generally starts with playing through some prepared music. After that, we’d like to just talk with you. This gives you the chance to get to know us on a more personal level; meet the musicians, the music director, and ask questions about what we do. It also gives us the chance to learn more about you: what brings you to our orchestra and to learn about your background.

After the audition, you’ll hear from us within a week or two with the results.


What caliber of musician do we look for?

This is always a difficult question to answer. In general, we’re looking for volunteer musicians who have taken private lessons and who have previous orchestral experience. The music we like to play is typically quite challenging (we usually play a full symphony each concert cycle), and so we look for musicians who are both capable on their instrument, and who have the ability to work on our repertoire outside of rehearsal. Though we do rehearse much more than a typical professional orchestra, our time is still limited, and there’s a lot to cover.

This is by no means a hard requirement, however. We would be happy to listen to you play and talk with you even if you feel you don’t “fit the mold.” If you’re here, reading this page, we want to hear from you!

Will I be paid to participate?

Seattle Festival Orchestra is a community organization, not a professional orchestra. With some exceptions, all of our musicians are volunteers and are not paid a salary.

What music should I prepare?

We have selected a few orchestral excerpts to work up and play for us. (If you don’t see any listed for your instrument, we will send them to you when you contact us.) These excerpts represent the kind of music we’ll be playing together, and both give you a feel for what our material is like, and us a feel for how you’ll take to it.

If, instead, you’d rather play some material of your own, we’d love to hear it! We recommend two pieces of contrasting styles, with a total length of about 5 minutes, so we can get a good feel for your abilities. Expositions or full movements of concertos (with your instrument as the solo) make excellent choices for this kind of material. If you’re auditioning for a principal position, we highly recommend this option, though it’s not a hard requirement.


When and where do you rehearse?

We rehearse every Tuesday night from 7:15pm until 9:30pm at Nathan Hale High School in North Seattle.

What if I have other questions?

Feel free to contact us at with any questions you have! We’ll be happy to answer them as quickly as we can.