Who May Audition

Students and faculty from all Columbia divisions are invited to audition. Advance sign-up is required. Slots will be open on August 16th (see "Important Notes").

Audition Schedule

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2024 from 12:00 - 08:00 pm
  • Thursday, September 5, 2024 from 02:30 - 08:30 pm
  • Friday, September 6, 2024 from 12:00 - 08:00 pm

Audition Location

809 Dodge Hall

Audition Requirements

Short solo of choice. This may be a short solo work or an excerpt of a longer solo work. No accompaniment is required or provided.  Examples of works accepted are concertos, sonatas, showpieces, and etudes.  You need only choose one movement.  Your chosen piece should be indicative of your musical ability, quality of sound,  and technical capacities. 

Important Notes 

Membership decisions are made within the context of the orchestra's current personnel needs, the relationship of the player's ability to the median technical level of the orchestra, and the player's competency during the audition. Auditions are mandatory for new and returning members of the orchestra. All personnel decisions are final and made by the Music Director.

As a member of the CUO, one must demonstrate that they can perform with proficiency the repertoire that the orchestra is playing. The Orchestra's repertory has always included very challenging works, such as music by Boulez, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Varese. The number of wind, brass, and percussion openings is determined by the Orchestra's repertory - larger pieces require more players, though not necessarily for each concert. The usual string complement is 32 violins, 12 violas, 18 cellos, and 6-8 basses.

Auditionees not immediately accepted into the orchestra are encouraged to discuss further options with the Music Director, Professor Jeffrey Milarsky. These can include private lessons, smaller ensembles, or chamber music. For information on chamber music and private lesson auditions, consult the Music Performance Program webpage.  

Staff Positions

A few persons interested in managerial work may gain experience as orchestra librarians and personnel managers. These positions count as a music department class the same as the orchestra members.

Interested in backstage work? Volunteer positions as CUO stage crew are also available. Please contact the Orchestra if you are interested.