Audition FAQ

By Isabel Thiroux, Executive Director, AYS Alumnus

Updated July 2023

There is no fee to apply and this is a tuition-free program.

First of all, make sure you have plenty of time to record your video in case any issues arise with the video or uploading the file. 

Order of your recording:

State your name and that you’re auditioning for 2023/4 Season.

Solo (2-3 minutes). For all instruments except horn, this is a selection of your choosing. Your solo does not have to come from a 2-3 minute piece; you may choose to play a 2-3 minute excerpt from a longer work.

Excerpts (order can be found on the audition excerpt page)


Before you record make sure your instrument is tuned.

When you set up your recording, make sure nothing is obstructing you or your instrument.

Listen through your recording to make sure it’s clear and that the volume is adequate.

Begin playing your audition materials (in the order indicated above) directly after stating your name, instrument, solo piece, and audition season. There should not be long breaks or cuts between selections.

Reminder: just as in our live auditions, there is no accompaniment for your solo or excerpts. 

Upload your video to YouTube. Any videos that are submitted in other formats will not be considered received. Need help uploading? Check out these steps here

When you upload your video, select the “Unlisted” privacy option. This makes it so you can share the video link for your audition privately without making it viewable to the public. More information on that here.

You do not have to currently be a student to audition for AYS. AYS is open to musicians 15 years of age as of September 30, 2023. The orchestra includes those in high school through doctoral programs as well as those who have completed their education. There is no age limit, but the average age of our members is 22. 

Be sure to enter your email correctly on your audition application. The audio from your video submission will be extracted so that the only thing the committee will get is the audio. Your application and audio will be reviewed by the audition committee made up of Mo. Izcaray, AYS alum, and other professional musicians in the field.  

AYS is now running its auditions through the video submission process. Should the audition committees find the need to hold a 2nd round for any instrument, we could hold an in-person round. The applicants would be notified for a live round.

AYS holds blind auditions. Even with COVID-19 not allowing us to have live, in-person auditions, we are continuing blind auditions by way of your unlisted YouTube video submissions. The YouTube video is to verify it’s your submission and from there, your audio will be extracted and shared with the committee. The only thing the committee will know about what they’re listening to is what your instrument is and your solo piece.

AYS strongly believes in the practice of blind auditions as it is the way applicants are accepted based solely on their musical ability.

Strings: because the auditions are blind, you are not required to follow the bowings in the excerpts. 

The panel varies depending on your instrument, and can be made up of current principal musicians from the orchestra, AYS alum, the Music Director, and professional musicians in the Los Angeles area.  

There have been some instances where the audition panel has asked for a second round for specific instruments and should that happen, we will address this when we’re able to gather together in person. A solution has also been that the committee will offer a shared position for the season if it is narrowed down to two applicants. 

All auditions are unaccompanied.

There has been an increase of applicants over the years. Last season, over 100 applications were received! 

Due to those graduating and moving on from the program, we will be looking to fill about 30 positions for the 2023/24 season. From the submissions, the audition committee will also identify qualified subs.

You will be notified of your audition results by email once the panelists have made their decisions. Be sure to enter your email correctly on your Audition Application. Email is AYS’s primary mode of communication with students. The new orchestra roster will also be posted on our website. On occasion, the panel has announced results once a group of auditions has finished. 

The length of a Fellowship is up to three consecutive years, with the opportunity to re-enroll twice for a maximum of 9 years in the orchestra. Each fellowship term is 1-3 years (length of term at discretion of musician and orchestra management). The first year is considered probationary. Following that year, you may be asked to re-audition. For disciplinary reasons, or because of substandard performance, any member may be placed on probation or asked to re-audition at the discretion of the Music Director.

Title positions (principal, associate, assistant, concertmaster, etc.) are eligible for one additional term renewal without audition, contingent on the consistent and exemplary execution of their role, for a total possible tenure with the ensemble of 6 years. When a title position is filled through this process, the Music Director may choose to hold auditions for a potential co-chair of that title. If a candidate is successful in the audition for the co-chair, then the two would switch roles between programs throughout the season.

The Music Director, for either disciplinary reasons or due to substandard performance, maintains the authority to require any AYS member to re-audition to continue their term.

Members may choose to re-audition for a better seating assignment without the risk of losing their current seat. However, members who do not re-audition may have their seating changed in the following season. All members are encouraged to re-audition. It is a great professional development opportunity and allows you to become more confident and comfortable managing the audition process. Current members seeking to re-audition for any reason will go through the same application and audition process as non-members. Members who are not returning for the following season must notify the Director of Orchestra Operations at the earliest possible opportunity.

If you miss two or more concerts in one season, for any reason, your position will automatically be open to audition for the following season. You will be required to re-audition for membership in the orchestra.  

If there are no available positions, AYS will consider those applications for its substitute list.

About Isabel Thiroux, Executive Director

May 2023

AYS has appointed Isabel Thiroux as executive director. Thiroux has been with AYS for 22 years, first as a member of the orchestra’s viola section and then moving into administration.  She initially joined AYS as a member of the orchestra’s viola section in 2001 and performed with the orchestra until 2007. Thiroux moved to the AYS staff as an administrative assistant from 2007-2009, when she was promoted to orchestra manager, a role she held from 2009-2015. Thiroux served as the director of orchestra operations beginning in 2015 and was appointed interim executive director in June 2022. A year later she was appointed executive director. 

Isabel is a busy freelance musician, performing regularly throughout southern California.