Auditions for 2020 Canberra Youth Orchestra and James McCusker Orchestra



Audition excerpts will be available in July.


To book your audition please click through to the Eventbrite booking system using the relevant link below:

Each audition will be no more than 10 minutes in duration. Auditions will be held at the Ainslie Arts Centre, Braddon.

There is a fee of $40 per audition, plus booking fee, payable through the booking website, when booking your audition. The audition fee helps Music For Canberra cover the costs of venue hire and paying professional musical staff to take your audition.

If you are not sure which Orchestra to audition for, please download the relevant excerpts and discuss suitability with your individual instrumental tutor. You do not need to audition for both Orchestras. Please let us know when booking if you would like to be considered for the James McCusker Orchestra if your audition for the Canberra Youth Orchestra is unsuccessful.


Acceptance into a Music For Canberra Orchestra is based upon an annual audition. All auditions include a solo work or movement, the required excerpts, and sight reading.

  1. Musicians auditioning for JMO or CYO are expected to play no more than five minutes of a solo work or movement. Please consult with your private teacher in selecting a work or movement that best demonstrates your technical proficiency, command of the instrument and musicianship. The solo work or movement should be level-appropriate. Please also bring a photocopy of the music of your solo piece to give to the audition panel.
  2. Musicians auditioning for JMO or CYO are expected to play this year’s required excerpt(s) which are available for download (the number and difficulty of excerpts varies per instrument). Players who have already booked in for an audition will be emailed when excerpts are available.
  3. Students will be asked to play a piece of music that they have not previously seen which completes the sight reading aspect of your audition.

At no point in your audition is an accompanist required.


Musicians must arrive 20 minutes prior to the scheduled audition time to warm-up and focus on the music. Signage will direct where your relevant “green room” can be found to leave your belongings and warm up; please be considerate to other musicians in the space.

Toilets at the Ainslie Arts Centre can be found in the left wing of the building (near the kitchen); toilets at the ANU School of Music can be round in the hallway outside the Llewellyn Hall entrance (see signage).


Phone: 02 6182 0030


Download the above information as a pdf >>


About the Canberra Youth Orchestra

The Canberra Youth Orchestra (CYO) is the premier youth symphony orchestra in the ACT and wider region, bringing together the region’s finest young musicians. Conducted by award-winning Canberran, Leonard Weiss, the CYO performs a diverse range of repertoire and features world-renowned soloists. The CYO performs regularly at Llewellyn Hall as part of an annual concert series, as well as other regular performances including at the High Court of Australia and for the Canberra International Music Festival.

Performance standard: AMEB 8 or equivalent, or AMEB 7+ for woodwind and brass. Participants are expected to be taking additional individual instrumental tuition; this can be arranged with a Music For Canberra tutor if participants don’t already have a private teacher.

About the James McCusker Orchestra

Named after one of the original founding members of Canberra Youth Music, passionate musician James ‘Jim’ McCusker, the James McCusker Orchestra (JMO) is our second or training orchestra in the performance pathway, sitting just prior to the Canberra Youth Orchestra – which is typically where JMO musicians progress to as they develop musically. Through its rehearsal and performance of carefully chosen repertoire, the James McCusker Orchestra provides an ideal environment for young players to gain exposure to the fundamentals of orchestral ensemble playing, as they develop their musical skills. The James McCusker Orchestra works towards regular performances at venues and community events including at Llewellyn Hall, Floriade, the National Eisteddfod, and festivals in the ACT and wider region.

Performance standard: AMEB 5-7 or equivalent. Participants are expected to be taking additional individual instrumental tuition in addition to orchestra; this can be arranged with a Music For Canberra tutor if a student doesn’t already have a private teacher.