Audition dates

Fall auditions for membership in Stanford Philharmonia (SP) and/or the Stanford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will take place from 19-25 September 2023. If you plan to audition, please fill out the 2023-24 Orchestra Participation Form. All new and returning members are required to fill out this form and to audition, using this form to sign up for an audition time up through 25 September. (Note: use your Stanford email address to access the form and sign up.) Everyone is urged to audition as early as possible during the audition period.

All auditions will take place in Braun Rehearsal Hall (BRH), including harp and timpani/percussion. Auditions will be in person, although auditions can take place over Zoom, if necessary. If you cannot audition by 25 September, send an email to <> explaining your circumstances.

Generally, anyone auditioning on more than one instrument (i.e. flute and piccolo; oboe and English horn; violin and piano; etc.) should sign up for one audition slot in which both instruments will be heard.

Audition requirement

AUDITION PROCEDURE. Each audition will last about 10 minutes and will consist of a solo piece, excerpts, scales, and sight-reading for new members. Returning members will not be required to prepare a solo piece – just excerpts, scales, and sight-reading.

SOLO. The solo piece should not exceed 2-3 minutes and usually is an excerpt of a concerto, suite, or sonata, or an etude. Only students who haven’t been in SSO or SP before should prepare a solo piece; returning members will not be asked to play one.

SCALES. For the audition, play scales as you’ve prepared them in your studies at school or with a private teacher. Everyone will be expected to know some major scales; beyond that, there is no set list of scales to prepare. Naturally, the more scales you know, the better; knowing all the major scales is desirable, and knowing major, minor, and chromatic scales is optimal. If you know minor scales, then you’ll be asked to play one or two of them, and wind players may also be asked to play a chromatic scale.

EXCERPTS. These are posted on the Audition Excerpts page.

SIGHT-READING. A sight-reading excerpt will be provided at the audition.

Eligibility for membership

All Stanford undergraduate and graduate students (including postdocs and visiting scholars) are eligible for membership in SSO and SP. Additionally, membership may be extended to Stanford faculty and staff as well as community members, including high school students, with the understanding that currently enrolled Stanford students will receive priority for membership. Undergraduate and graduate students are treated equally in the auditions, as are music majors and non-music majors, with non-music majors having the same chance of being admitted to SSO and/or SP as music majors. It is possible to play in both SSO and SP during the same year; generally, each year about 10-12 students play in both orchestras.

In 2023-24, the SSO roster could include as many as 110 musicians – 66 string players (16-16-14-12-8) and 46 winds, percussion, harp, and keyboard (5-5-5-5 6-5-4-2 6timp/perc 2harp 1kbd). The SP roster of about 52 musicians will include approximately 37 string players (10-9-8-6-4) and about 15 winds, harp, percussion, and keyboard (2-2-2-2 2-2-0-0 1timp/perc 1harp 1kbd). Saxophonists and players of less common orchestral instruments should email <> to ask whether there will be parts for your instrument this year.


The Fall repertoire for SSO and SP is posted on the home page. Winter and Spring programs will be posted after the Fall auditions, but will not be finalized until after the Concerto Competition takes place on 3 February 2024.

Instrument loans

Many students in SSO and SP borrow instruments from Stanford’s extensive instrument collection, which is overseen by Herb Myers, Stanford’s Curator of Instruments. There is no cost to borrow an instrument from the collection. Students who play double bass, cello, alto flute, English horn, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, bass trombone, and tuba often borrow instruments. The collection also includes E-flat and A clarinets, C trumpets, violas, violins, and various kinds of brass instruments. If you need to borrow an instrument, contact Herb Myers at <>.

Any questions about auditions may be addressed to Professor Paul Phillips at <>.