Professional Experience Scheme 22/23: Manchester Collective

Applications are now open for the Manchester Collective (Violin and Cello) Professional Experience Scheme

Open to: third and fourth year undergraduates and all postgraduate violinists and cellists.

Deadline for application: 1pm, Friday 23 September 2022
Auditions: Wednesday 12 October 2022

The Scheme

The Manchester Collective PES Scheme is designed to give up to three outstanding RNCM instrumentalists (TWO violinists and ONE cellist) a first-hand experience of life and work inside Manchester Collective.

Successful applicants will rehearse and perform alongside the musicians of the Collective in one of its main season projects – Places we Know with guest director Pekka Kuusisto. They will also have the opportunity to observe rehearsals of another headline project of the Collective’s season, Arcadiana in October.

Application to this scheme is expected to be extremely competitive and will include a ‘taped’ screening round: applicants will be required to submit a recording of between three and five minutes in length.

The panel (comprising Rakhi Singh, Music Director, and Adam Szabo, Chief Executive) welcome recordings of contemporary music, as well as solo and chamber repertoire in any style. Orchestral recordings will not be accepted.

Please make your recordings interesting and characterful. We are not looking for ‘nice’ performances. We want to be excited and impressed by your individuality, musicality, technique, and imagination.

Applications to the Scheme can be made here.

Tapes can be video or audio and should be uploaded here.

Following the screening process, shortlisted applicants will be selected to attend live auditions, which will take place at the RNCM on Wednesday 12 October 2022.

The audition process will consist of two parts: a short solo performance (free choice of repertoire) followed by some chamber music, performed as part of a quartet made up of Manchester Collective players.

Following auditions, up to three applicants will be selected to receive three hours of 1:1 lessons and mentoring from appropriate MC staff. Successful applicants will be invited to take part in the Collective’s Places we Know tour, with guest director Pekka Kuusisto – including rehearsals and performances in Manchester, London, Liverpool and Saffron Walden. Students will be paid a Per Diem for all touring dates; travel and accommodation will also be provided.

Further details, including key information relating to all RNCM Professional Experience Schemes, are outlined within this document.


Application Part 1: Tape round

Applicants should submit a recording of between three and five minutes in length, to be considered by a panel from Manchester Collective including Rakhi Singh (Music Director) and Adam Szabo (Chief Executive).

Following this screening round, shortlisted applicants will be invited to audition.

Applications should be made here.

Recordings should be uploaded here.

Application deadline: 1pm, Friday 23 September 2022

Application Part 2: Auditions

Auditions at the RNCM

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Shortlisted applicants will be selected to audition in person.

All auditionees are expected to present a short (max five-minute) solo performance. Repertoire is free choice, but it should be something that applicants feel represents them in the best possible musical light. Performances are to be unaccompanied.

Applicants will then join players from Manchester Collective for a 20 minute rehearsal, playing the following repertoire:

  • Caroline Shaw: Valencia (violinists to prepare 2nd violin part)
  • Haydn: second movement (adagio) of String Quartet Op 54 No 2 (violinists to prepare 1st violin part)

Audition excerpts can be found on RNCM Moodle. Auditions are expected to last about half an hour in total.

Scheme stage 1

Induction, mentoring and rehearsal observation

October 2022

Successful applicants will visit the Manchester Collective offices for an induction session. They will also have the opportunity to observe rehearsals on 17-18 October for the chamber project Arcadiana.

Mentoring sessions and 1:1 lessons will be delivered over the course of the scheme.

Scheme stage 2

Places We Know

Students will take part in one of the headline projects of Manchester Collective’s 2022/23 season – Places we Know, with guest director Pekka Kuusisto. Students will rehearse and perform with the string orchestra ensemble, with the opportunity to meet and network with the Collective musicians.

Rehearsals: 28 – 30 November 2022


  • 2 December: RNCM Concert Hall
  • 4 December: Southbank Centre, London
  • 9 December: Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
  • 10 December: Slung Low @ The Holbeck
  • 11 December: Tung Auditorium, Liverpool

Scheme stage 3

Debrief and Evaluation

January 2023

An informal discussion between the successful applicant and the directors of Manchester Collective.