Professional Experience Scheme 24/25: BBC Philharmonic (Strings)

Applications are now open for the BBC Philharmonic (Strings) Professional Experience Scheme.

Open to: third and fourth year undergraduates and all postgraduates enrolled at the RNCM in 2024-2025 who are not on the BBC Philharmonic’s extras list. You cannot reapply if you have completed the Scheme in any previous years.

Deadline for application: 1pm, Thursday 27 June 2024
Auditions Violins: Saturday 12 October 2024
Violas, Cellos, Basses: Monday 14 October 2024
Full audition requirements: Moodle
Application form: Moodle

Our Professional Experience Scheme with the BBC Philharmonic is designed to give RNCM students the chance to experience working with members of a professional symphony orchestra and to be mentored by the members of the orchestra.

The Scheme

Auditions Violins: Saturday 12 October
Violas, Cellos, Basses: Monday 14 October

Auditions will be held at MediaCityUK or RNCM. The audition panel comprises of BBC Philharmonic members, including section principals. The students chosen to participate are at the discretion of the panel. All auditionees will be provided with an accompanist.

The BBC Philharmonic PES auditions requirement for strings are:

i. A piece of your own choice, accompanied by piano (for most instruments a movement of a concerto) – exposition, or first large section of the piece, max 5 mins.
You should consult with your teacher about the appropriate length.

ii. Prepared orchestral excerpts that can be found on Moodle

iii. Sight-reading from standard orchestral repertoire

Following auditions, the BBC PES Administrator will be in touch with successful candidates to discuss induction and placements.

Students successful at audition will be invited to the BBC at MediaCityUK to meet informally with mentors and to undertake a tour of the building, including the studio.

Placements during 2024/25 Academic Year
After the induction, the successful students will be offered up to 4 programmes, depending on their instrument.

PROGRAMME 1: Play alongside mentor (or other member of the section) in tied rehearsals. You may be invited to perform all or some of the programme, at the discretion of the mentor.
PROGRAMME 2: Play alongside mentor (or other member of the section) in tied rehearsals. You may be invited to perform all or some of the programme, at the discretion of the mentor.



Rehearse and perform an entire concert programme in the tied rehearsals and concert (at the discretion of the mentor).

Violinists will be offered one extra programme so that they can experience two programmes in each of the first and second violin sections.

The BBC Orchestra Personnel Manager will be in contact with you, usually 2 weeks before your placement dates, with details about obtaining electronic or hard copies of your orchestral parts.

Each successful student will be allocated a BBC Philharmonic mentor who will:

  • Guide the student, both personally and professionally, through their orchestral experience.
  • Provide verbal feedback throughout the placement.
  • Liaise with the section principal about progress and suitability to perform with the orchestra.
  • Write an evaluation report at the end of the scheme which will be shared with the student and RNCM.

The BBC Philharmonic’s expectations of students

The musicians and administrators of the BBC Philharmonic expect students to:

  • Prepare parts thoroughly and to a professional standard for rehearsals.
  • Display an open-minded attitude to discussing issues that may arise.
  • Respond promptly to all communications in relation to the scheme.
  • Complete an evaluation of the scheme at the end of their placement.

After the scheme

The aim of the scheme is to provide the best possible preparation for the student to pursue a career as an orchestral musician. The BBC Philharmonic is constantly looking for excellent musicians to add to its extra lists and PES students may be considered for extra work once their time on the scheme is completed.

Students will not be engaged for any freelance work with the orchestra until they have completed all parts of their unpaid Professional Experience Scheme. In the rare instance that the orchestra wishes to employ a student before they have completed the scheme, the student would immediately cease their enrolment in the scheme and an alternative placement will need to be sought via college to make up credits where necessary.

Professional Experience Schemes: Key information

Key information relating to all RNCM Professional Experience Schemes is outlined within this document. If you require additional support or guidance, please email Abby Flood, Ensembles Administrator or call 0161 907 5275 / 07976 556983.


The RNCM contact for this Scheme is:

Abigail Flood
Ensembles Administrator
E: [email protected]
M: 07976 556983


BBC contact for initial part of Scheme:

Youlanda Daly
Project Coordinator, Learning / BBC Philharmonic
E: [email protected]


Please note:

  • Strings can apply for and audition for multiple RNCM Professional Experience Schemes with the local orchestras, but if offered places on multiple Schemes cannot take more than one.
  • All applicants are guaranteed an audition.
  • You cannot re-apply for schemes if you have completed them in any previous years.
  • If you are on an orchestra’s extras list, you cannot apply to take part in their Professional Experience Scheme.
  • You will not receive any payment for involvement in RNCM Professional Experience Schemes.
  • Successful auditionees cannot undertake freelance work with the orchestra until all Professional Experience Scheme dates have been completed.
  • Late applications will not be accepted and individual receipt of auditions will not be acknowledged.


Auditions are a key part of Professional Experience Schemes and it is considered unprofessional to cancel at short notice. As such, any applicant withdrawing at less than 72 hours’ notice prior to audition will be ineligible to apply to that orchestra again.

Postgraduates Only

If you intend to use the Professional Experience Scheme for the Professional Placement module please keep copies of all Professional Experience Scheme applications (CV, covering letter and application pro forma) as you will be required to submit them at the end of the year as part of your Professional Placement portfolio.

You can choose to use the Professional Experience Scheme for the Professional Placement module (dependant on reaching the appropriate stage) but you do not have to choose the module in order to undertake the Professional Experience Scheme.

For questions about Professional Placement modules, please contact Andrea Vogler [email protected].