Audition for the NRO

Summer Music Festival 2020

The Next Generation

In a mountain-town recognized for attracting some of the world’s top athletes, it’s also known for developing the next generation of world-class orchestral musicians thanks to the NRO. Our alumni can be found in virtually every professional orchestra in the country. Spend your summer with us in Breckenridge for our 60th Anniversary Diamond Concert Season and take the next big step to launching your career.

Ready?

So are we! Applications and video auditions are open while our live audition tour begins in February, 2020.

Results of the 2020 NRO auditions will be announced in early March. A non-refundable registration fee will apply upon acceptance.

Summer festival dates are June 7 – August 1, 2020.

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“I attended NRO in 2006 and 2007 and I was treated as a professional, giving me a new confidence as I embraced and grew into meeting those high expectations. I had the privilege of serving as your concertmaster for two summers as well as performing the Brahms and Sibelius violin concertos as a soloist.”

“I would have to say that, NRO offers real life experiences within one of the most beautiful parts of the country.  I enjoyed every second in Breckenridge and would not be where I am today without NRO and the doors that it helped me open.”

“The summer I spent at the NRO was the perfect experience for me at that time. It helped me transition from the mentality of ‘student’ to ‘professional’. NRO teaches the tools and confidence needed to succeed as performing musicians of the highest level.”

“The training provided at the NRO allows serious musicians the perfect opportunity to hone their craft under the guidance of great conductors and alongside highly skilled colleagues who share their passion and excitement for music making.”

Michael Kemp, Principal Timpanist, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

“My summer at NRO was transformational. I wouldn’t have the experience, positivity, and confidence to be successful in this world without that summer.”

“The experience at NRO helped me tremendously to grow as a professional musician before I went on to my next orchestral positions at the New World Symphony and The Omaha Symphony.  The continuous pursuit of the highest artistry at NRO has always been my inspiration for my performing career”

Yu “Dean” Zhang, Principal Keyboard, Omaha Symphony

“Working with the National Repertory Orchestra for the past two seasons was an indispensable experience for me to learn what it took to successfully manage a professional ensemble and anticipate musicians’ needs on a consistent basis. It was during my season as the NRO Intern that I realized my passion in collaborating with musicians from the administrative aspect. No matter where I end up, I will be forever grateful for the wonderful team and incredibly talented musicians I had the opportunity to work with.” (2013 NRO Personnel Intern and 2014 NRO Orchestra Manager)

Emily Tuan, Operations Manager, New England Conservatory Preparatory School

“For me, NRO was a huge turning point for my playing. I can’t recommend the NRO enough for young musicians looking to play great rep, with great musicians, in a beautiful part of the country.”

“I’ve known so many people who have gone through this program.  You find NRO alum everywhere, in every orchestra.  It’s wonderful, a really nice place to grow.  Everyone is very nurturing and supportive.  It really trains everybody, not only in the playing but in the mindset.”

“My musical career has been moving forward significantly since my time with the NRO. The music festival not only brought my playing to a higher level, but also fulfilled my dream of playing a solo performance when I won the concerto competition.”

“NRO was a crucial part of my musical development, and I carry the experiences I had in Breckenridge with me to this day. The sheer amount of diversity in programming at the NRO helped to shape me into a versatile musician with experience in multiple styles of playing.”

“My experiences with the National Repertory Orchestra are unforgettable. For me, it was a place to make lasting connections with new friends and really set deep roots in the orchestral repertoire that I wouldn’t have been able to do at any other summer festival.”

Michael Marks, Principal Bass, Arizona Opera

“I really appreciate my time back at NRO – covering a ton of repertoire in a very short amount of time was demanding, but all so very worth it. Thank you very much for the great experience, NRO!”

“I remember walking away (from the first rehearsal) just with a big smile on my face because I knew I had young, enthusiastic and really talented musicians to work with.  And it’s kind of like a boot camp for young musicians who want to go into the professional ranks.”

“I truly believe that the National Repertory Orchestra program is unique. The great benefit provided to these young people by their experience at NRO is immensely important to them, and in a very real sense, it will be figured prominently at the heart of their ongoing development and will help to define the future of orchestral life and music in our country.”

“I have been blessed to work with virtually every major American orchestra, many of them multiple times, and I can say that without a shadow of a doubt my recent experience as soloist and conductor with the National Repertory Orchestra was one of the highlights of my recent musical life.”

“I am deeply grateful for my summer playing with the NRO. Since my summer in Breckenridge, I have completed a Bachelor of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music and a Master of a Music degree at The Juilliard School. I am now ready and excited to take on my role performing with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.”

“NRO was an incredible place for me to gain experience playing orchestral repertoire at a very high level. In rehearsals, we were treated as professionals, and outside of rehearsals we were treated with the greatest warmth by Breckenridge locals and our host families.”

“I had two of the best summers, both in learning and in fun, of my life. I got to share the stage with tons of incredible people, and had amazing host parents.”

“The NRO was an exceptional pre-professional experience for me and an integral part of my musical development.  I have very fond memories of my two summers in Breckenridge and am grateful for the exciting musical opportunities I had there.”

“The NRO was crucial to my musical career because it established strong friendships within the arts community. The world of the orchestral musician is small and the connections you make are important. With so many talented students at the NRO, I was bound to meet future leaders of our art. Also, the fast-paced nature of the festival’s programming allowed me to get a sense a professional orchestra’s schedule. The amount of repertoire covered and the level at which the orchestra performed made for a challenging and enriching experience for me.” (NRO 2008 Bassoon and Contrabassoon) 

“My experience at NRO has prepared me very well not only because of the musical and artistic opportunities it provides, but because NRO is unyielding with it’s vigorous and demanding schedule, I have been extremely well prepared for my new position.”

Got questions?  We’ve got answers.

Video audition deadline: Friday, February 14, 2020

Live audition deadline: Sign-ups for live auditions close one week before each audition date. For example, if your preferred audition location is on February 7, you must sign up by February 1. Please note that audition locations may fill before this time. We highly recommend selecting your preferred audition time as soon as possible.

The NRO accepts live and video auditions. Both methods of auditioning will be considered equally. For a list of our live audition locations, please visit NRO’s AUDITION PAGE.

For live audition applicants, you will be invited to signup for a live audition AFTER submitting your application.

The application fee is $75 for both live and video auditions. If you would like to apply for more than one program (for example percussion and timpani) you must submit two separate applications and therefore two application fees. All application fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

All musicians who are between the ages of 18 and 29 on June 7, 2020 are eligible to apply.

Yes! The NRO welcomes any alum to audition, provided you are within the age limit. There is no restriction for the number of years you can attend the NRO.

Yes! Applications are welcome for international students between the ages of 18 and 29.

If accepted, all international students must submit proof of a valid, non-tourist visa. Proof of status is due upon enrollment in early March. CPT or OPT may be required.

All visa documents and fees are the musician’s responsibility. Please consult with your school’s academic advisor or consulate to determine if you are eligible, as NRO staff are not authorized to give visa advice. While the program is free of charge to musicians, the NRO provides housing and a weekly food stipend which is viewed as compensation by the government.

If accepted, all international students must attend on a valid, non-tourist visa.

We kindly ask that anyone who needs to cancel a live audition do so ASAP, as there may be a wait list for many locations. Please email audition@nromusic.org.

We allow applicants to change their application to a video upload audition up to two weeks before the audition date. If you need to change to a video audition, please email audition@nromusic.org and be sure to include your full name, instrument, selected audition location, date and time.

Both video and live auditions will be judged equally.

Percussion, timpani, and piano/keyboard auditions are by video audition ONLY. All other instruments (strings, winds, brass and harp) may choose either a live or video audition.

Please arrive early to your audition and be ready outside of the audition room when it is your scheduled time. A proctor will be in the room with you and will video record the audition. Please give your single-sided, one-page resume to the proctor which will be used to keep notes on the back of the page for later review.

You are required to bring a single sided, one-page resume to give to the audition proctor. Please bring your own music, as sheet music will not be provided.

No. All auditions (live and video) are unaccompanied.

Results will be sent via email in early March 2020.

Yes, applicants may audition on more than one instrument. For example, percussionists may be interested in also applying for the timpani position. Please note that you must apply separately for each position, thereby submitting two applications and fees.

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