Audition Information

Auditions for the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia are open to all Stanford students, faculty, and staff. Community members of all ages are also welcome to audition and participate with the understanding that Stanford students will be given priority for membership.

Auditions for Fall Quarter 2020 will take place in person on campus around September 12-13 prior to the first day of Fall Quarter on September 14, and auditions for Winter Quarter 2021 will take place around January 9-10 prior to the first day of Winter Quarter on January 11. Only new students and others who have not played previously in SSO or SP will be required to audition this year. New students who will not be on campus this fall are encouraged to audition via Zoom with the understanding that they would join SSO or SP (pending their audition) during the quarter(s) that they are living on campus. Anyone wishing to play this year in SSO or SP should fill out this Orchestra Participation Form indicating which quarters you will be on campus this year and other relevant information. New students will be assigned audition times once the audition schedule has been set up later this summer.

Returning students will not re-audition this year unless they request to do so. They will be assigned to an orchestra based on their previous audition(s) and asked to fill out a form expressing their preference for SSO or SP.

The Stanford Philharmonia rosters will be announced on Tuesday, September 15, with the first SP rehearsals taking place that evening in Bing.
• The Stanford Symphony Orchestra roster will be announced by Thursday, September 17, with the first SSO rehearsals taking place that evening in Bing.
• All students in SSO and SP should register for the course. Students in SSO should register for MUSIC 160, or MUSIC 160Z for the zero-unit option. Students in SP should register for MUSIC 160A, or MUSIC 160AZ for the zero-unit option. For  information about zero-unit courses and procedures, visit Graduate students may request zero-unit enrollment permission numbers online at:


For 1st-year students and anyone who has not been a member of SSO or SP previously:

1) Solo piece. A two-minute work of your choice that displays your best playing, or a two-minute portion of a longer work (such as an etude, or movement of a suite, partita, sonata, or concerto). A second contrasting piece is not required, but can be prepared and might be requested if time allows.

2) Sight-reading. Sightread an excerpt provided at the audition.

3) Scales. Play scales in the way you’ve prepared them with your private teacher or learned them at school. While there is no set requirement as to which ones you should know, knowing all the major scales is desirable, and knowing majors and minors is optimal.

The audition will last 10 minutes.

Prospective members of SSO and/or SP may audition on violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, and keyboard. Anyone who plays a related instrument like piccolo, English horn, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, etc., is encouraged to bring it to the audition if they have it available. (These related instruments are available on free loan to Stanford students during the academic year.)

Anyone planning to audition on more than one instrument (i.e. violin and piano) who thinks they would need more than 10 minutes should sign up for two audition times (either back-to-back or separate). For auditions on closely related instruments (i.e. flute and piccolo), sign up for one audition time only.

Music majors and non-music majors are treated the same in the auditions, with non-music majors having the same chance of being admitted to SSO and/or SP as music majors.

Seating in the string and wind sections will rotate, and every effort will be made to ensure that each orchestra member will play on every program, with parts distributed as equitably as possible.

Comments or questions concerning this year should be emailed to Professor Phillips at