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London Sinfonietta Academy

The London Sinfonietta Academy is an unparalleled opportunity for emerging instrumentalists to explore, rehearse and perform new music alongside our musicians.

The LS Academy is the foremost training scheme of its kind in the UK, focussing solely on the expert playing of contemporary repertoire. Since 2009 more than 230 young musicians have participated in the LS Academy, and many of them have become freelance players with the London Sinfonietta and members of other major UK and international ensembles.  

The Scheme 

The LS Academy is aimed at young musicians who are committed to long-term instrumental career development and have an interest in contemporary classical music. 

As a member of the LS Academy you will have the opportunity to explore the seminal 20th Century repertoire for which the London Sinfonietta is renowned along with new works and recent commissions.  

Opportunities include learning from and performing alongside our musicians, attending rehearsals and concerts of new LS commissions and taking part in performance and participation opportunities to open up contemporary classical music to new audiences. The summer course in July 2022 will form the culmination of the project with intensive days of rehearsal and small group coaching leading to a public performance.  

The course is offered for free to participants thanks to the generous support of our donors. 

‘Sitting side-by-side with professional players who are so experienced definitely taught me the essential skills of working with orchestras.’ London Sinfonietta Academy Participant 2021
‘The course opened my eyes to the unique approach needed for rehearsing and performing contemporary music.’ London Sinfonietta Academy Participant 2021

How to Apply 

Applications are now open for the 2022 LS Academy. We welcome applicants on violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone, percussion, piano and harp with the aim of creating an ensemble of similar scale and orchestration to the London Sinfonietta itself.  

To apply, please complete

The closing date for applications is 1 December 2021.

We plan to hold auditions in London and Manchester in Spring 2022 (precise dates to be announced) and will endeavour to invite all candidates to their preferred audition location of London or Manchester. Candidates will be expected to finance their own journey to the audition they are invited to attend. We may be able to offer some small travel bursaries to support participants who do not live close to either location but are currently not able to help with accommodation costs. 

FAQs

Who can apply? 

To apply you must be: 

  • aged 18-26 on Friday 8 July 2022.  
  • available to attend the summer course during w/b 11 July 2022 (exact dates tbc) in London and as many of the additional events/opportunities between March-June 2022 as possible. 

The London Sinfonietta is committed to increasing the diversity of those engaging with contemporary classical music and actively encourages applications from musicians with Black, Asian and ethnically diverse heritage. 25% of successful applicants in the 2021 LS Academy were from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds and we hope to continue to improve upon this for the 2022 course. 

If you have applied before but have been unsuccessful but would like to try again, we would welcome your application.  

What are the audition requirements?

You will be selected for an audition with London Sinfonietta principal players and be asked to perform a prepared orchestral excerpt and an unaccompanied solo work of your choice, to undertake sight-reading, and to demonstrate to the panel an interest in contemporary repertoire either through your choice of solo work or through a conversation with the panellists. Orchestral excerpts will be available to download from our website in due course.  

Do I need to have experience of performing contemporary repertoire? 

No, we welcome applications from any instrumentalist interested in developing their skills performing contemporary repertoire. For the auditions we ask that you demonstrate an interest in contemporary repertoire but if you don't have a suitable contemporary piece in your repertoire you are welcome to play something else that you feel shows your playing at its best.  

What is the time commitment? 

All selected participants will need to be free to attend all sessions of the summer course w/b 11 July 2022 (exact dates tbc). These days will have a busy schedule of rehearsals and coaching so please do not book other commitments during that period. We also ask that you make time ahead of the course to practise your parts in order to get the most from the experience.

For all other opportunities offered to participants we encourage you to join us for as many as possible but are aware that other commitments will mean that you won’t be able to attend everything.  

I live outside of London, will it be possible for me to participate?

Yes, although you will need to be able to easily commute to London for the summer course and as many of the other opportunities as possible so please consider this before you apply. We may be able to offer some small travel bursaries to support participants who do not live in London but are currently not able to help with accommodation costs. 

What’s it like to be part of the LS Academy? 

All participants from last year's course said that being part of the LS Academy had made them more confident to perform contemporary music and over 75% also said that it had significantly impacted their ensemble skills and understanding of the skills needed to be a professional musician.

The experience made me ask more of my playing - I feel that my rhythmic precision, confidence to create more extreme sounds and ability to project improved throughout the course. 

It has made me more confident to approach new repertoire and not be afraid to discuss techniques and interpretation of contemporary music with colleagues. 

London Sinfonietta wants to build a relationship with all LS Academy participants, inviting you to become part of our community, attend rehearsals and performances, offer opportunities to join us for participation events or perform with us. Last year opportunities included: taking part in various schools and composition workshops; public performances as part of our live streamed World Premiere Wednesday series; filmed involvement in our Composition Challenge videos; taking part in an international performance of Dai Fujikura’s digital piece “Longing from Afar” with musicians from around the world and an invitation to help power Laura Bowler's new commission Houses Slide through bicycle generated energy. 

I really enjoyed taking part in the Postcard Pieces education project and the challenge of interpreting a graphic score. It furthered my understanding of how to approach a piece that does not use traditional notation and encouraged me to be imaginative, creative and practise improvisation. 

What's the summer course like?

The focus of the scheme is the summer course, held in London in the week of the 11th July and which culminates in a public performance as part of our main season programme. The course is led by a guest conductor and will feature repertoire comprising an ensemble of participants, as well as larger repertoire to be performed side by side with our musicians. The course features a mixture of tutti rehearsals, and coaching and sectionals led by London Sinfonietta players.  

Last year the course had a Scandinavian theme featuring works from a number of living Scandinavian composers. In the past we have performed works from a wide range of composers who have had a close relationship with the group including John Adams, Thomas Ades, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Elliot Carter, Unsuk Chin, Tansy Davies, Bushra El-Turk, Oliver Knussen, Gyorgy Ligeti, Magnus Lindberg, Deborah Pritchard, Toru Takemitsu, Rolf Wallin, Iannis Xenakis.  

If you’re not yet sure whether this scheme is right for you, or if you would like further information before deciding whether to apply, please email Rhuti Carr.

The London Sinfonietta Academy 2021 is generously supported by The Aspinwall Educational Trust, The Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust, The Fidelio Charitable Trust, The Garrick Charitable Trust, The Derek Hill Foundation, The Boris Karloff Charitable Foundation ,The Steven R. Gerber Trust, The Aspinwall Educational Trust, The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The Radcliffe Trust, The Thriplow Trust and Idlewild Trust.                                                                                                     

London Sinfonietta Academy Repertoire list 2009-2018

LS Academy Repertoire 2009-2018.pdf