ATTENTION: Ensemble placement lists are now available.

Large Ensemble Participation

Every music student registered for Undergraduate Applied Music instruction (except Music 1925, 2925, 3925 or 4925) must participate in a Large Ensemble in each year of registration. Students registered in Graduate Applied Music instruction need only register in Large Ensemble for one of their two years (9528). Graduate students studying an orchestral instrument must also do an additional half course in Chamber (Opera) Orchestra unless they are participating in the Early Music Studio.

Please note that all students must audition on their principal instrument for every year that they are required to be in a large ensemble.

Students must be able to attend every weekly rehearsal in order to be placed in a choir/ensemble. Choristers and instrumental brass, woodwind and percussion players are advised to keep Monday to Thursday, 3:30 to 5:30pm available in their schedules until their ensemble is assigned.

If wind, brass, percussion, or string majors do not audition at an appropriate level, or skip the audition process, the ensemble directors may choose to refuse them instrumental ensemble placement. The instrumental ensemble directors will notify the appropriate students of non-placement by the Sunday following auditions. In such cases, it will be the responsibility of the student to arrange a choral audition by contacting mramsay9@uwo.ca to schedule an audition. Placement in any ensemble is not guaranteed.

Please note, the audition is one step among several in determining Large Ensemble assignments. Other factors, such as course requirements, levels and ensemble assignments in previous years, will also be taken into account. The final decision on assignments rests with the Dean’s Office on the advice of the auditioners.

A note for non-music majors: please be aware that Large Ensemble is a zero-weighted course and cannot be counted for course credit. If you wish to have it appear on your transcript even though it does not count for credit, email mpsdept@uwo.ca prior to the deadline to add courses (September 16, 2021).

2021-22 Large Ensembles offered

*Admission to these ensembles is by audition and studio teacher permission. Also note that Opera does not fulfil the Large Ensemble Requirement for Undergraduate Programs; a separate course credit is offered.

Keyboard majors, guitarists: A few pianists will be able to elect Accompanying for Large Ensemble credit (see below), but most keyboard players and guitarists will audition on a secondary instrument or sing in a choir. They should therefore follow the audition instructions for voice or orchestral instruments.

Woodwind, Brass and percussion majors are eligible to audition for the Symphony Orchestra, any Band or the Jazz Ensemble.

All string players, other than guitar, must play in the Symphony Orchestra unless by permission of the department.

Large Ensemble Rehearsals

Large Ensemble rehearsals are not like other classes or labs, but rather like a professional service; attendance is mandatory. Instrumental rehearsals are normally held from 3:30 to 5:30pm, two days per week. Extra dress rehearsals are scheduled before each concert and performances are generally held outside of the normal rehearsal times.

Rehearsal Details



Rehearsal Days

Rehearsal Time


Orchestra S. Luti Tue & Thu 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. MB 27
Wind Ensemble C. Richardson Mon & Wed 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. MB 27
Symphonic Band S. Chabot Tue & Thu 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. MB 227
Jazz Ensemble K. Watson Tue & Thu 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. MB 27
Early Music Studio J. Lanza Mon & Wed 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. MB 210
Accompanying C. Tithecott N/A   TBA
Western University Singers M. Ramsay Mon & Wed 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. MB 227
Les Choristes J. Loo Tue & Thu 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. TC 100
St. Cecilia Singers G. Gassi Tue & Thu 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. MB 254
Chorale P. Murray Mon & Wed 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. TC 100
Opera Alcina
Music Director: S. Luti
Stage Director: A. Grant

L’Elisir d’Amore
Music Director: S. Luti
Stage Director: A. Theodosakis

Opera/Musical Theatre Gala
Music Director: S. Luti
Stage Direction: TBA
Mon 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. MB 254

2021-22 First Rehearsals

Early Music Studio (Organizational Meeting) – September 13, 3:30pm
Symphony Orchestra – September 14, 3:30pm
Wind Ensemble – September 13, 3:30pm
Symphonic Band – September 14, 3:30pm
Jazz Ensemble – September 16, 7pm
Opera – September 20, 5:50pm
Les Choristes – September 15, 3:30pm
Chorale – September 13, 3:30pm
St. Cecilia Singers – September 14, 3:30pm
Western University Singers –September 13, 3:30pm

Concert Attire

Choral and Instrumental Concert Attire

Full-length black skirt or black dress pants, black blouse or dress shirt (at least three-quarter length sleeves), black socks or tights, black dress shoes.

Please Note: All choir members are required to provide their own black folder.

Ensemble Auditions

Admission to all Ensembles is by audition. Accompanists are only required for the Opera auditions.

Accompanying for Credit

Accompanying for Credit is permitted as an alternative to participation in a choir for piano students in second, third or fourth year, and in first year with permission of the instructor and the Performance Department Chair. To obtain this credit, accompanists must accompany for all lessons, rehearsals, juries, and/or recitals, one Performance major or two non-performance majors. All piano performance majors are required to accompany for credit for at least one year.

Students registering for accompanying for credit should audition for a choir or other ensemble in the event that they are not admitted to accompanying for credit.

Accompanying for credit auditions for all returning students will take place in a live audition on Friday, September 10 (time TBA). Students will sign up for an audition time virtually. 

Audition requirements include: one solo piano piece, one collaborative test piece and a quick study that will be distributed 24 hours before the audition time. The collaborate test piece is “Widmung” by Robert Schumann. Any students interested in auditioning for accompanying for credit should contact Christine Tithecott at ctithec@uwo.ca to express their interest throughout the summer months.


Choir Placement Auditions

All students who wish to participate in a choir during the 2021-22 academic year must complete a Choir Placement Audition. This includes completing an online audition form and submitting a short vocal range recording by Thursday, August 12, 2021, and singing a short, prepared excerpt and a sight-singing exercise over Zoom with the choir conductors between August 30 and September 7, 2021.

Follow these steps to prepare for your Choir Placement Audition:

1. Create a recording to demonstrate your vocal range. (You will be asked to upload a link to this recording when you complete the online audition form.)

  • You may record audio only or video with audio. Choose a recording device and platform that is easily accessible to you.
  • Be sure to say your name at the beginning of your recording.
  • Sing along with this recording of vocal exercises. It may not be possible for you to sing the full range demonstrated in the recording, so sing only to the limit of your comfortable vocal range in each exercise.
  • Upload your recording to an online platform that will allow you to share an access link with us (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive, YouTube, etc.). The online audition form will ask you for this link. Double check that the access settings will allow anyone with the link to access the file without special permissions.
  • These recordings will help us determine both the tone quality of your voice and the most suitable choral part for you.

2. Complete the online audition form by August 12, 2021.

  • Questions on the form include basic contact info, program of studies, previous choral experience, and choir preference for this year.
  • You will have the opportunity to indicate what day you would like to complete the online Choir Placement Audition. Available dates include August 30, 31, and September 1, 7, 2021.

3. Prepare the excerpt for your Choir Placement Audition.

  • If you have very limited or no choir experience, please prepare to sing a short (1 min. max.) excerpt of an unaccompanied song of your choice. It can be in any style and any language.
  • If you have previous choir experience, please prepare to sing your voice part from m. 1-9 of In the Sun In the Sand By the Sea.

4. Complete your short (5 min.) online Choir Placement Audition with the choir conductors. (August 30, 31 and September 1, 7, 2021)

  • Check the schedule for your audition time.
  • During the online audition (Zoom), you will have the opportunity to sing your prepared excerpt and complete a short sight-singing exercise using screen share. (If you know you will be in a location where your internet will not be reliable, please email mramsay9@uwo.ca in advance and we can complete the audition using phone and email.)

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Dr. Ramsay, Coordinator of Choral Activities at mramsay9@uwo.ca

Large Instrumental Ensembles – Strings and Winds, Brass, and Percussion

2021-22 String auditions are held for the Western Symphony Orchestra and Chamber (Opera) Orchestra. All string majors will audition for placement in The Western Symphony Orchestra for their Large Ensemble credit. Those auditioning for violin, viola, cello, and double bass may prepare 2 of the 4 listed excerpts.

All wind, brass and percussion students will audition for the Western Symphony Orchestra, the Western Wind Ensemble, the Western Symphonic Band, and the Western Jazz Ensemble (Winds and Brass only for Jazz Ensemble) and the Chamber (opera) Orchestra. Students wishing to audition for the Jazz Ensemble must play an additional Jazz piece for the Director of the Jazz Ensemble. Rhythm section auditions for Jazz Ensemble will take place electronically over the summer using the audition submission guidelines below.

Large Instrumental Ensemble Placement Auditions (Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble)

Auditions for all new and returning winds, brass, and string music majors will happen electronically over the summer. Percussion students will audition in-person at the beginning of September, given the wide range of instruments needed for audition purposes. 

In order to relieve some of the stress that may be associated with doing the auditions earlier, we have eliminated some of the requirements for winds and brass. Please see the new playing requirements. We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances for some students this summer, so if you are unable to complete this request please contact us as soon as possible to make alternate arrangements at mpsdept@uwo.ca.

Audition submission guidelines:

  • Say your first and last name at the beginning. Audio/video is preferred but audio only will be accepted if a video is not possible.
  • Performance order:
    • Use the order specified on the revised excerpt list.
    • Include all of the specified scales/excerpts.
    • You are not required to include the optional excerpts. However, if you are able to play those excerpts, we encourage you to include them.
    • Those students interested in a jazz ensemble placement are expected to do the required excerpts plus the jazz excerpt.
  • Upload your recording to YouTube, and provide a link to it in the online ensemble audition form.
  • The ensemble audition form must be completed by August 12, 2021 at noon (this also applies to percussionists who will fill out the form without submitting a video).

If you cannot upload the video for some reason, please contact mpsdept@uwo.ca

2021-22 Ensemble Placement Lists

Ensemble placement lists for 2021-22 were originally released on September 13, 2021, and revised as noted.

Audition FAQ

Does my audition have to be recorded in one take?
No. You can record each excerpt or piece as many times as you need to and select the best for your audition. However, you will have to put everything together and submit your audition as one video (or recording).

I don’t have any recording equipment. What should I do?
You can use a cellphone to record your audition. The recording does not have to be of high quality as we understand that many students will not have access to anything more than a phone.

Is a video required for my audition?
Audio/video is preferred for most ensembles but audio only will be accepted if it’s not possible for you to record a video.

I’m auditioning for several ensembles. How should I prepare my audition video(s)?
For the most part, each audition should be a separate video. The audition form follows a similar format to the live auditions of prior years. You should prepare one video for your string or winds/brass/percussion large ensemble audition (including optional jazz excerpts), one video for a jazz rhythm section audition, one or two videos for a Chamber Music audition (depending on the option you select), and one video for an Early Music Studio audition.

What do I need to do before filling out the online ensemble audition form?
Make sure you have reviewed the audition requirements carefully and you have the links to your YouTube videos easily available before you begin the form.

I’m having trouble filling out the online ensemble audition form. What now?
During testing, we noticed that the form doesn’t always work correctly on cellphones. Try filling out the audition form on a computer if possible. If you continue to have difficulties contact mpsdept@uwo.ca.

I already filled out the ensemble audition form but did not submit my audition video at the same time. How do I submit my video?
Click on the audition information form and you should be able to modify the form and add your link to it. If you can’t see your previous form, contact ensembles@uwo.ca.

It's not possible for me to submit a recorded audition by August 12, 2021.
If there is absolutely no way you can submit a recorded audition contact mpsdept@uwo.ca by August 1, 2021.

I don’t have a YouTube channel. How can I create one?
To create a Youtube account, then Channel – you need a Google account. In a browser go to YouTube. Sign in if you have a Google account. If not, then select Create account filling in the information. (Note - you do not need a Gmail account to create a Youtube account). Once you have a YouTube account, you need to create a YouTube Channel allowing the uploading of videos. To do this log into your YouTube account, then choose the icon button of a video camera with a + sign in the middle. Select Upload video and follow the instructions. Please post your video choosing the "Unlisted" option, then copy/paste the video link.

How do I find out if I was placed in an ensemble?
Ensemble placement lists will be posted online on September 13, 2021 at 12pm. Be sure to check the audition results right away since some ensembles have their first meeting at 3:30pm on September 13, 2021.