Conservatorium Symphonic Ensembles

Eligibility, registration, program and audition information for students wishing to participate in Symphonic Ensembles at the Conservatorium.  Audition information for String and Brass Ensemble can also be found below.

Eligibility and Ensemble Overview

Students who play an orchestral or wind band instrument and wish to enrol or participate in the Symphonic Ensembles subject are required to audition. The following ensembles are included in the subject:

  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Wind Symphony
  • Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Concert Band

Eligibility to participate in a symphonic ensemble will be determined by live audition, held before the beginning of semester 1, or a recorded audition if you are unable to attend the live auditions. Recorded auditions are also held for semester 2 entry.

At the completion of the semester 1 audition process, students will be placed by staff in up to two ensembles from the list above (unless the student requests to be in three ensembles). Once rostered there is no flexibility for negotiating a change, without the consent of the Head of Instrumental Area and the subject coordinator. Please also note rostering and assignments are subject to change throughout and between semesters, and students cannot nominate their preferred ensemble. It is understood that your combined rehearsal/performance times will not exceed the maximum time commitment as defined by the 2024 Unimelb Handbook.

The minimum level of performance required for these ensembles would be equivalent to grade 8 (in either AMEB or ABRSM) or a very high grade for VCE solo performance (grade 7 for breadth students).

To learn more about the ensembles within the Symphonic Ensembles subject, please read the Ensemble Overview.

Registration, Enrolment and Program Information

This subject is conducted on-campus at Southbank. There is no online alternative, unless Covid-19 restrictions will mandate a change in subject delivery.   

Before auditioning, students must read through the 2024 Symphonic Ensembles Code of Conduct and the 2024 Symphonic Ensembles Rehearsal and Performance Schedules. These documents outline the time commitment and expectations of participation at The University of Melbourne. By applying to audition you are agreeing to these terms:

2024 Symphonic Ensembles Code of Conduct

2024 Current Rehearsal & Performance Schedule - Semester 1

2024 Current Rehearsal & Performance Schedule - Semester 2

Performance Dress Code

2024 Current Repertoire  

Information on how to enrol, enrolment and re-enrolment can all be found on the student enrolment and re-enrolment page.

As a student, it is your responsibility to ensure that you complete the administrative requirements of your degree. This includes ensuring your enrolment is finalised prior to the census date of each subject.

After receiving specific ensemble placements in week one of the semester, Honours and Masters students must register their ensemble participation on LMS.

Any student experiencing enrolment issues relating to the Symphonic Ensembles subject must contact STOP1 for further assistance.

All 1st year BMus Performance students (excluding voice, guitar, jazz & improvisation and interactive composition students) are required to audition for the Symphonic Ensembles program, regardless of how students intend to fulfil the large ensemble component of their degree.

Piano auditions are open to 2nd years who marked 70 or above in their last performance exam.

1st year Percussion students have the option of either participating in the scheduled live audition (with optional timpani) or requesting that the panel use their entrance audition report (and/or video) in place of a formal audition. You will be able to select your option under the 'Instrument' section on the audition application form.

Non-enrolled participating students do so with prior understanding that they cannot be enrolled retrospectively in the subject at any time after the census date, and must still audition and adhere to the 2024 Symphonic Ensembles Code of Conduct and 2024 Symphonic Ensembles Rehearsal and Performance Schedule.

Other Ensemble Information

String Ensemble is held Fridays 9-11am and Brass Ensemble is held Fridays  11.30am-1.30pm. Any questions regarding String Ensemble, please contact Associate Professor Curt Thompson. Any questions regarding Brass Ensemble, please contact Associate Professor Joel Brennan. Although both String Ensemble and Brass Ensemble are separate subjects from the Symphonic Ensembles subject, placement in these is covered within the same audition process as Symphonic Ensembles.

Please see this page for information on how Conservatorium ensembles can feature in your study plan.

Instrumental Ensembles at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

2024 Symphonic/Brass/String Audition Dates & Application Form

Auditions have now been completed for semester 1, however if you play oboe, bassoon, clarinet, tuba or euphonium please contact Edwina Dethridge.

Recorded Auditions
If you are interstate or overseas during the audition period (but are intending to be in Melbourne for semester 1) and cannot attend your respective instrument's audition day, you must apply and submit a recorded audition. Please read the instructions below:

Symphonic Ensembles Absentia Auditions - Instructions

Mid-Year Auditions
Mid-year recorded auditions are also held for those commencing in semester 2. Information on this will be released in late May 2024.

2024 Audition Excerpts

2024 audition excerpts are listed below. These excerpts are also used for mid-year auditions:

Violin & Concertmaster



Double Bass


Flute & Piccolo

Oboe & Cor Anglais

Bassoon & Contrabassoon





Tenor Trombone

Bass Trombone




Piano (2nd year onward)

If you need to hire an instrument  for your audition please click here.

Contact us

Please contact Edwina Dethridge, Orchestral Coordinator, for all other questions regarding Symphonic Ensembles.