Young Conductor Competition 2017/18


The City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (CCSO) performs six concerts a year in Cambridge’s leading concert hall, the West Road University Concert Hall, under the baton of its Musical Director, Robert Hodge. The orchestra has always worked with young soloists at the start of their careers and has recently made a commitment to include partnerships with young composers and conductors as well.

The first CCSO Young Conductors’ Competition took place in 2015/16. The winner of the first CCSO Young Conductors’ Competition was Sean Dunn, who was guided through the rehearsal process by Robert Hodge before conducting the Academic Festival Overture by Brahms in the autumn of 2016.

2017 sees the start of the second competition which will have a slightly different timetable to the first competition in as much as the winner will not have to wait nearly a year before working with the orchestra but will be involved with rehearsals in the spring of 2018 culminating with conducting a performance of Weber’s Euryanthe Overture in the orchestra’s 5th concert of the season in May 2018.

The application process is relatively straightforward being based on an initial written application from which up to six candidates will be selected and asked to attend a mixed interview and practical audition. The interview process is aimed at giving the jury a bit more understanding of the candidate’s intellectual approach to music whilst the practical audition seeks to understand the current abilities and potential of the candidate. Clearly demonstrating rehearsal and conducting techniques whilst working with two pianists will not be the same as having to stand in front of a full orchestra!

The opportunity to stand in front of the full orchestra will be offered to the three of the six candidates selected by the adjudication panel to go forward to the second part of the competition. It is important that the whole orchestra gets to “view” the potential candidates – after all they will be playing together in a concert.

Following the rehearsal with the full orchestra the successful candidate will be identified and informed not only or their success but to make sure that they are available for the appropriate rehearsal dates for the May concert.

In summary

Applications are sought from candidates who:
• were born after 30th September, 1996;
• have achieved a high standard of musicianship on one or more instruments;
• have some experience of conducting/directing ensembles in rehearsals or concerts.

Applications must be received by no later than midnight on 15th September, 2017

The competition will take place in the autumn of 2017 in Cambridge, split into two rounds.

Round One
Up to six shortlisted candidates will be asked to attend an audition/interview where they will meet members of the jury and discuss their conducting experience and aspirations. Candidates will also be asked to demonstrate conducting and rehearsing skills by working on the following repertoire, performed by piano duet:

Beethoven, Symphony 2 (1st movement);
Brahms Academic Festival Overture

Shortlisted candidates for Round One will be informed no later than 2nd October, 2017. Round One will take place on Sunday, October 22nd in Cambridge. Full details of the venue and directions will be issued to the shortlisted candidates.

Round Two
Three successful candidates will be chosen to audition with the CCSO on the evening of Tuesday, 12th December, 2017. The successful candidates will be notified by 5th November, and will be provided with full details, including directions to the orchestra’s rehearsal location and particulars of the repertoire to be rehearsed. Each candidate will be asked to work with the orchestra for thirty minutes, during which time he or she should demonstrate conducting ability, communication skills and rehearsal technique. The winner will be chosen and informed by the end of January, 2018.

Application forms can be found here.
The more detailed rules can be found here.

If you have any queries on the process please email

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2017/18 season announced


Welcome to the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season. Once again we are offering six concerts containing a mix of well-loved favourites and lesser-known repertoire deserving further exposure. We strive to achieve the highest possible technical and musical standards whilst demonstrating spirit and enthusiasm in our performances. Full details can be found in the 2017-18 brochure.

Posted on Categories News