Firstly, congratulations on getting your place at Durham! Below is some important information about the society and how to join it.

If you are left with any questions whatsoever, please get in contact via the links at the bottom of the page or email Laura at


Firstly, congratulations on getting your place at Durham! Below is some important information about the society and how to join it.

If you are left with any questions whatsoever, please get in contact via the links at the bottom of the page or email us at

Durham University Orchestral Society is made up of two orchestras: the Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra. Each rehearse once per week and perform around two concerts per term, some with each other, others with other music societies within the university. This year, you can expect to perform at The Sage, Gateshead and accompany some extremely talented soloists. You'll also have the opportunity to play some incredible repertoire including pieces by Wagner, Dvořák and Gershwin.

Rehearsals and concerts only make up part of your time as there is also a vibrant social side: we run regular socials, host parties, and put on events like our annual black-tie ball.

We pride ourself on being entirely student-led. This means all of our Executive Committee and Conductors are students at the university. That said, we regularly welcome professionals from institutions such as the Northern Sinfonia and the RNCM who hold masterclasses and sectionals, notably during our week-long course at the end of Easter term known as ‘DUOS Week’. We also benefit from regular masterclasses with professional conductors such as Peter Stark and Richard Dickins.

In addition to all this, each Easter break we go on tour to Europe and in the past have visited Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Ljubljana, Barcelona and most recently Munich.



How do I sign up for an audition? 

For more information on how to audition, please come and talk to us at the online Freshers fair, where members of our exec will be on-hand to answer all of your questions! All the information about the fair you need will be provided to you by your college during Freshers’ Week. However, you can keep up to date with information by following our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn).

When do auditions take place?

To account for the ongoing pandemic, this year’s audition process will adopt the format of online video submissions and written answers to questions, rather than being in-person. These videos and written answers may be completed at any point between now and 23:59 on Sunday 4th October 2020.

What can I expect from the audition?

You should prepare a short, unaccompanied piece lasting no longer than 5 minutes, or alternatively an extract from a longer work, lasting no longer than 5 minutes. The piece does not have to be originally written for unaccompanied and instrument (for example, a cello sonata with the piano part omitted is perfectly acceptable). Furthermore, you will also need to record yourself performing our orchestral excerpts; these can be found on our website under the auditions tab and on our social media channels.

You can either send one long video containing your performances of both the prepared piece and excerpts, or two shorter videos; whichever is more convenient for you!


You will need to upload these to YouTube as an unlisted (private) video, and then copy and paste the link to these videos to our audition application GoogleForm, which is accessible here On this form, you’ll also be able to let us know whether you can play any auxiliary instruments (eg. piccolo if you’re auditioning on the flute; cor anglais if you’re auditioning on the oboe), and tell us all about your prior experience! 

I would like to be considered for the role of Leader of the Orchestra or Section Principal; how do I apply?

This year, we will automatically consider every application for the roles of Leader of the Orchestra and Section Principals, therefore there is nothing ‘extra’ that you need to do if you’d like to be considered.

What standard should I be?

Most of our players perform to Grade 8 to diploma level or above. However, don't let this put you off! We don't require applicants to have completed any music exams, and we strongly encourage you to audition if you are at all interested. We also don't require previous ensemble experience. If you have any doubts, talk to one of the exec members at the Freshers' Fair or get in contact with us (see below).

What if I play more than one instrument?

If you play multiple instruments which are substantially different (for example, viola and trumpet), you should audition for each separately, and each application will be considered individually. 

If you play a main and an auxiliary instrument (eg. flute and piccolo), you should audition only for your main instrument, you should audition on your main instrument, and let us know about your auxiliary instrument on our application GoogleForm. Your ability to offer an auxiliary instrument will not hinder your chances of success on your main instrument - in fact, it is usually considered an asset to be able to play an auxiliary instrument.

How does the audition work for percussionists?

Owing to the current restrictions on socialising, it is with a very heavy heart that we are not accepting applications for percussionists at the present time. This is due to the fact that we do not anticipate that many students will have ready access to percussion in their student house or college, and that DUOS usually provides all the percussion instruments that you may need for auditions, rehearsals, tours and performances. Once the current restrictions have been eased, we will be inviting any budding percussion applicants to audition for the panel in person - please keep an eye out for further information!

When do I find out whether I’ve been successful?

Every year, we have a large number of applications to consider, so there may be a small delay before you find out your audition result. Nevertheless, we aim to e-mail all candidates, both successful and unsuccessful, by the end of teaching week 1. If you are successful, you will receive an e-mail with rehearsal details and your desk position in the orchestra(s). It is important to check your e-mails regularly, as we hope to commence rehearsals from 12th October.

What If I'm unsuccessful?

If you are not successful in gaining a place in DUOS this year, you will be notified by email. Please don't be upset - it is an extremely competitive process and you shouldn't be discouraged from trying again next year. Due to the huge number of applications and quick turn-around period, generally we do not provide audition feedback to unsuccessful candidates. If you would really like feedback, you should e-mail Emma at

If you have any questions at all, please e-mail Emma at We hope to see you at our auditions, and good luck!