Youth Orchestra

The CBSO Youth Orchestra is the successor to the Midland Youth Orchestra, founded in 1956 by CBSO General Manager Blyth Major and for nearly half a century one of the UK's leading independent youth orchestras.

In 2004 it joined with one of the world's great professional orchestras to become the CBSO Youth Orchestra, giving young musicians from across the Midlands the chance to experience professionally-supported orchestral playing at the highest level.

Open to all Midlands young musicians aged 13 (in Year 9) to 21, the CBSO Youth Orchestra gives its members an unmatched opportunity to be part of an internationally renowned orchestral organisation, playing challenging music in prestigious venues with top professional conductors and soloists. Complementing the region’s existing youth and schools orchestras, the CBSO aims to have a youth orchestra that is dynamic, challenging and filled with dedicated young players who share the CBSO’s own passion for music.

Members of the CBSO Youth Orchestra benefit from:

  • Sectional coaching from CBSO musicians
  • Performances with leading professional conductors
  • The chance to play in Birmingham's Symphony Hall, one of Europe's finest orchestral concert venues
  • Performing exciting and adventurous music, including regular world and UK premieres
  • The support of the CBSO's management team - exactly like a professional orchestra.

To join the CBSO Youth Orchestra applicants need to undertake an audition with a panel of CBSO musicians, just like a professional orchestral audition. Auditions are held annually during the summer term, but applications can be made at any time.

We ask that applicants are working at a minimum of Grade 7 standard for strings and Grade 8 for woodwind/brass/percussion.

Applications for the 2020-21 season are now open! To apply for an audition for the CBSO Youth Orchestra please complete an online application form by clicking the green APPLY NOW box on the right. Due to the COVID-19 situation we will not be holding auditions at the CBSO Centre during the summer term of 2020, instead we will be asking all musicians to submit a filmed audition. 

There will be specific musical requirements for the audition, and the CBSO will provide a booklet of orchestral excerpts and other requirements for each specific instrument. We will begin issuing these from Monday 20 April along with guidance on how to film your audition and where to submit your video. 

The closing date for all filmed auditions will be Friday 29 May. We will be unable to accept any applications made after this date.

As we are unsure when we will be able to return to work, we are unable to provide a specific date for results of the auditions, however, we will keep all applicants up to date with this timeline as it becomes clearer and will be aiming to provide results by the end of August at the latest.

Please note, if you are wanting to apply as a percussionist complete the online application form and we will be in touch directly. We do not expect percussionists to submit filmed auditions due to the specialist nature of the instruments required which you are unlikely to have at home.

If you have any questions at this stage please email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

2020-21 Season Dates
Saturday 24 October – Sunday 1 November 2020
Saturday 13 – Sunday 21 February 2021
Saturday 17 – Sunday 25 July 2021