Brown University Orchestra
MUSC 0610/0611

About Auditions

For the Spring 2021 semester, the Brown University Orchestra will focus on chamber orchestra repertoire (19 students maximum at a time, strings and percussion only). Learn about and sign-up for your audition here.

Participation in the Brown University Orchestra is open to all members of the Brown community: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. Members of the RISD community are also eligible to participate. Musicians from the local community are welcome to audition and may be invited to join if openings exist.

Each fall, all musicians interested in joining the orchestra are required to audition, including returning members. Individuals who are abroad or away during the fall should audition at the start of the spring semester.

The audition will take approximately 10 minutes and consist of the following parts (no sight reading or scales will be required):

  • A two-minute excerpt of a work of your choice. This piece should display your best playing, and demonstrate your technical and expressive capabilities. You may bring a second contrasting selection, but it is not required and might not be requested because of time constraints.
  • Orchestral excerpts drawn from the season’s repertoire (one or two excerpts, depending on the instrument). This year’s excerpts are available here.

Anyone who plays a secondary instrument, like piccolo, English horn, bass clarinet, etc., is encouraged to bring it to the audition and prepare the associated excerpt, if possible. If you plan to audition on more than one instrument and think you will need more than 10 minutes, sign up for two audition times (preferably back-to-back).

Rosters and seating assignments will be announced once all auditions have been completed. Rotating seating is used in the string sections, with new assignments for each concert. Principal string players are selected from the pool of principals determined by the auditions. Seating in the rest of the orchestra rotates to varying degrees according to each section. No distinction is made between music and non-music concentrators when determining seating; our philosophy is to judge chair placement based on the fall audition and subsequent performance in rehearsals and concerts.

For Prospective Members

Incoming students are encouraged to visit the Orchestra Open House (held every September in Alumnae Hall), where they can meet conductor Mark Seto as well as upperclassmen in the orchestra. Please audition! We accept large numbers of new members every year, and chair placement is not determined by class year. First-year students have the same shot as everyone else who auditions. Although orchestra is a time commitment, students taking the most difficult course loads at Brown still find the time to perform.

Music for an audition can be obtained at Orwig Music Library, located on the south side of campus next to Perkins Hall. Instruments to use or practice on for an orchestra audition (especially large instruments such as the marimba, harp, tuba, etc.) can be arranged by emailing the conductor, Mark Seto. If you have any questions or concerns about auditions, don’t hesitate to contact him.

Course Information

A practical study of the orchestral repertoire from Bach to the present, offered through rehearsals and performances. Enrollment is by audition and written permission. Restricted to skilled instrumentalists. May be repeated once for credit. Written permission required. S/NC.

Guidelines for Participation

  1. All prospective and returning members are required to audition each September. To get an audition time, go to the Music Department homepage and click on the appropriate link for audition sign-ups.
  2. Once auditions have been completed, the roster of Brown University Orchestra will be announced by the date of the first rehearsal. If selected as a member of the orchestra, you should register for MUSC 0610. Registration for MUSC 0610/0611 is not required for membership in the orchestra, but is strongly encouraged. The Music Department staff in Orwig 101 will have a copy of the roster and be able to sign your permission slip.
  3. One half-credit will be awarded for each semester of participation in the Brown University Orchestra with registration for MUSC 0610 or 0611. Students who do not register for credit are encouraged to register as an Audit.

Rules of the Course

  1. Attend all rehearsals, which take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:15-9:45 p.m. Come 30 minutes prior to the beginning of rehearse to assist with the set-up and help strike the equipment at the end of each rehearsal. Most rehearsals take place in Alumnae Hall; most dress rehearsals and performances are in Sayles Hall.
  2. Practice your music diligently in order to come to rehearsals as prepared as possible, and strive to achieve the highest level of music-making of which you and the orchestra are capable.
  3. Participate in all concerts.
  4. Notify the personnel manager and conductor as early as possible in advance if unable to attend a rehearsal, or part of a rehearsal.
  5. Grades for MUSC 0610 and 0611 (S/NC only) are based on musical achievement, personal effort and attendance.


  1. Each member of the orchestra will be given a folder and music for each piece in which they have a part to play.
  2. Rehearsal schedules are sent out by email prior to each rehearsal.
  3. Seatings are determined by the September audition and subsequent achievement in rehearsals and concerts. Rotating seating is used in the string sections, with new seatings for each concert. Principal string players are selected from the pool of principals determined by the auditions. Seating in the rest of the orchestra rotates to varying degrees according to each section.
  4. String principals will meet with the conductor to determine bowings for each concert and are responsible for making sure that bowings are distributed to all members of their sections.
  5. Music is returned by leaving all parts on your stand following the final performance of each program. Folders are returned at the end of the year following the final concert.
  6. Sectional rehearsals are held periodically throughout the year.
  7. Scores and recordings of most works played by the orchestra are placed on reserve for MUSC0610/611 in the Orwig Music Library. All members of the orchestra are strongly encouraged to use these materials in order to learn the music as thoroughly as possible.
  8. Digital recordings are made of all Brown University Orchestra concerts and are available for downloading shortly after each concert take place.

For further information contact Mark Seto.