Solo Competition

Each year, the Cal Poly Symphony provides several students the opportunity to collaborate with the orchestra on our Winter Concert (see our Past Seasons page for examples).

Students are chosen through a competition/audition by a music faculty panel on Friday afternoon of week 7.  In 2022, this falls on November 4.

All students who are active in Cal Poly Music Department ensembles, as well as all Music Majors, are eligible to audition. Students must be in good academic standing (that is, not on Academic Probation) to apply.

Eligible works:

  • A movement of a concerto or similar solo instrumental work with orchestra
  • Opera or musical theater scenes
  • A concert aria or other solo vocal excerpt with orchestra
  • An original composition for orchestra

The following conditions should be taken into consideration:

  • The student should have the approval and current, ongoing coaching by a member of the music faculty.
  • The student should be available for Symphony rehearsals during Winter quarter: Tuesday and Thursday, 4:40 – 6:30 p.m.
  • The student should not have won the previous year's competition.
  • It is best if the work is no longer than approximately 10 minutes (to facilitate variety in programming).  Ask the conductor regarding longer works.
  • The work must be appropriate for the Symphony in terms of instrumentation and difficulty. If you are unsure about this, please ask the conductor.
  • The orchestra parts must be easily available by purchase or rental. Research this ahead of time and ask the conductor if you need help finding this information.

To Apply:

  • Complete an Application Form (pdf). Either email it to the conductor or bring a paper copy to the Music Department Office (45-129) by 12 noon on Monday of Week 7 (October 31).
  • After the application deadline, a sign-up sheet for audition times will be posted outside room 128. Sign up for an audition time.
  • Meet with our department accompanist, Paul Woodring. Give him a copy of the piano part to your selection in advance and meet with him before your audition. You can sign up for a rehearsal time with him on the bulletin board outside of room 128. 

    Rehearsal times with the staff accompanist are at a premium during the two weeks immediately preceding the competition. Please bear this in mind and sign up for your rehearsal time two or even three weeks in advance in order to ensure that you can meet with the accompanist.

If you have any questions, please contact the conductor: David Arrivée, Building 45, Room 128.

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