Symphony Orchestra & Wind Symphony Auditions

Audition Information

We are proud of our instrumental ensembles and eager to work with you as we prepare another great season of music. We welcome all new student musicians as well as our returning musicians.

Dr. César Leal, Conductor of Symphony Orchestra, and Dr. Russell McCutcheon, Conductor of Wind Symphony


We invite all students at Gettysburg College to audition for instrumental ensembles. All prospective ensemble members must audition, regardless of prior ensemble membership.

Music majors, music minors in their first four semesters of participation, and students on a music scholarship whose principal instrument is a string, woodwind, brass or percussion instrument must take part in these auditions; please review the ensemble participation policy in the Sunderman Conservatory Student Handbook.

Ensemble Plans in Fall 2020

Due to COVID-19, ensembles are not able to meet as they traditionally would. It is neither safe nor advisable to rehearse with 40-60 musicians in one space simultaneously.

In the fall of 2020, students will be placed into small groups of 8-9 musicians each. In these groups, students and faculty will explore repertoire we might not normally program in a traditional semester. Through readings, listening, and performance, students will be exposed to a variety of works from many time periods and genres. The semester will be divided into a series of two-to-three week units, with each unit focused on a particular piece. Students will prepare the pieces individually during and outside of course meeting times, and will meet as a group to rehearse the pieces together with Drs. Leal and McCutcheon. Both conductors will work with all students and small ensembles over the course of the semester. Each group will rehearse together at least once per unit on a rotating basis. Groups will rehearse together for no more than 60 minutes, following protocols developed for physical distancing and successful music-making in the age of COVID-19.

Students will also meet together as a large group and in small group breakouts via Zoom for discussion and further learning. Students attending remotely will be engaged through Zoom and individualized study and practice plans.

Course Information

All ensembles at Gettysburg College, including Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra, are courses for which students earn grades and credit.

  • Students cannot pre-register for these courses as they are audition-dependent. All ensemble members will be registered administratively after auditions during the first week of classes. Do not worry about signing up in advance.
  • Even though you cannot sign up in advance, you should still reserve space in your schedule for ensemble rehearsals/meetings.
    • For Fall 2020, all winds and percussion should reserve Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
    • For Fall 2020, all strings should reserve Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Students can fulfill the Multiple Inquiries-Arts requirement of the Gettysburg Curriculum through performance in ensembles for four semesters.
  • After your first four semesters - when each 0.25 adds to a full (1) course for MI-Arts - ensemble credits will continue to accrue above the 32 required courses for graduation.
  • Grades earned in ensembles are factored into your GPA, both during your first four semesters and beyond.
  • Ensembles are listed as 0.25 courses. They do not count toward your regular course enrollment toward full-time status of three or four courses. They also do not count against your regular course enrollment, so if you are registered for four or even five regular courses you can still participate in ensembles.
  • The Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees are 36-course programs. Ensembles for these students continue to count toward the 36 courses for graduation up through 36. Ensemble courses beyond the 36 will accrue above the 36 required.

Audition Information

Auditions for Fall 2020 will be done via recording.  All musicians auditioning are asked to record a video of themselves performing the excerpt(s) appropriate for their instrument (found below). Videos should be posted to YouTube; it is recommended you post your audition video as an "unlisted" video so it does not show up in search and can only be found through a direct link. You will need a YouTube channel; it is free to establish. If you have a Google account, you are already almost there.

A video recording done on a phone or mobile device is acceptable. Please try to frame the video so we can see you playing your instrument. Be sure to watch (and listen) to your video before submitting to ensure reasonable quality sound, etc.

At the beginning of your video, please state your name. It is most helpful if you introduce each excerpt as you perform it, especially in cases where there are multiple excerpts from which to choose.

Once you have recorded your video and posted it to YouTube, please submit your video audition using our audition form. Note that you may have to log in to complete the form; if you are asked to log in, use your Gettysburg College credentials (the same username and password as your College email). The form is restricted to only those in the Gettysburg College system. Please do not begin the form until you have recorded your video, posted it, and are ready with the share link.

Submit your Video Audition

Auditions will be accepted immediately through Wednesday, August 19 (the third day of classes).
Review of auditions will begin on Thursday, August 20 with decisions announced on Friday, August 21.

All accepted woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians will meet for the first time (via Zoom) on Monday, August 24 at 4pm.

All accepted string musicians will meet for the first time (via Zoom) on Tuesday, August 25 at 7:30pm.

Audition Preparation

Auditionees should prepare excerpts from the list below.

Excerpts for each instrument are contained in a single file for download.

  • For most excerpts, instructions regarding what to prepare are included in the file.
  • In cases where there are only two excerpts, prepare both.
  • In cases where multiple excerpts are given, choose two unless instructed otherwise in the contents of the file.
  • Try to choose contrasting excerpts.
  • For some instruments, these are the same excerpts as in the fall. If this is true for you and if you have options, please choose different excerpts than the ones you prepared previously. Otherwise, prepare the same excerpts.

List of Performance Excerpts

Auditionees are strongly encouraged to consult professional recordings and excerpt guides when preparing these excerpts. Many free recordings and resources can be found online. The Gettysburg College library is a great place to start, and has subscriptions (free for you) to several online music sites including Naxos music online and the Classical Music Library. These are typically much better choices than a random YouTube video. For all excerpts, we have attempted to include the title, movement, and composer of the piece from which it was drawn. This should be helpful as you search for recordings.

Using recordings to aid in your preparation helps you to understand the tempo, style and phrasing of the piece and how your part fits into the whole. It is not cheating to listen, it is the appropriate professional practice.

All excerpts linked below are in PDF format, ready to download.

Excerpts for String Players





Excerpts for Woodwind and Brass Players

Flute (Piccolo)

Oboe (English Horn)







Bass Trombone



Excerpts for Percussion, Piano and Harp

Percussion: Prepare all excerpts