Rules and regulations

National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (NJO)

1. The National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (NJO) organises various projects for young, talented musicians from 18 to 26 years of age (at the starting date of each project) studying an instrument at a music academy. Participants are selected by auditions. An audition can be applied for by submitting an application form before the closing date of the audition. Candidates who apply must be 100% available for the upcoming project concerned.

THE AUDITIONS

2. Auditions are held twice a year. NJO will be filming all auditions. These recordings will be used to enable consultation between tutors in discussion of the audition results. The recordings will be stored securely and will not be used for any other purpose without the candidate’s permission. The recordings will be made available to the candidates after the announcements of the audition results.

In the autumn live auditions are held in the Netherlands and Belgium. These are open to:

  • musicians from 18 to 26 years of age (at the starting date of the next project) studying an instrument at a music academy in the Netherlands or Belgium, and Dutch citizens studying an instrument at a music academy elsewhere. After a successful live audition and participation in an NJO project these musicians will become members of the NJO (see 12). NJO members can take part in several projects without the need to audition again.

In the spring auditions are held live in the Netherlands and Belgium and by video elsewhere. These are open to:

  1. musicians from 18 to 26 years of age (at the starting date of the next project) studying an instrument at a music academy in the Netherlands or Belgium, and Dutch citizens studying an instrument at a music academy elsewhere. These live auditions are held in the Netherlands and Belgium. After a successful live audition and participation in an NJO project these musicians will become members of the NJO (see 12). NJO members can take part in several projects without the need to audition again.
  2. musicians from 18 to 26 years of age (at the starting date of the next project) who are not Dutch citizens and who are studying an instrument at a music academy in the rest of Europe (not the Netherlands or Belgium). These musicians can apply by video, for all positions still vacant after the live auditions in the Netherlands and Belgium. Musicians accepted via this route can participate in projects during the upcoming edition of the NJO Summer Festival and Tour.

3.1 At the audition candidates will be asked to play a prepared piece of their own choice (e.g. a movement from a concerto, sonata etc.) and a selection of the orchestral excerpts which are available on the NJO website. Percussionists will be asked to play a selection of the orchestral excerpts only (no solo piece).

3.2 Woodwind players do not have to play an auxiliary instrument (bass clarinet, Eb clarinet, piccolo, cor anglais, contrabassoon, etc.). However, these instruments are often required in the orchestration and therefore it’s recommended to audition on your auxiliary instrument as well. Applicants who also wish to apply for positions that include auxiliary instruments should tick the right box/boxes on the application form and prepare the required orchestral excerpts for the auxiliary instrument(s) as well. No solo piece is required for an auxiliary instrument, only for the main instrument.

3.3 At the live auditions the NJO provides a pianist to accompany the solo recital piece. Candidates are also allowed to bring their own pianist. With the exception of harp players and percussionists, use must be made of the piano accompaniment at the live auditions. The pianist provided by the NJO will practise with the candidate just before the audition. Candidates are obliged to bring a score for the pianist.

3.4 Only for students as mentioned under 2.B: a video audition (video plus audio) should be recorded in one take, may not be edited or altered and should contain the complete audition repertoire played by the applicant. For auditioning by video recording please fill out the application form and copy the link (YouTube.com or Vimeo.com) to the recording in the appropriate box. Application forms with links should be in the possession of the NJO before the application deadline.
For a video audition the NJO recommends the playing of the solo piece with piano accompaniment as well (harp players and percussionists excepted).

3.5 NJO members (see 12) do not need to audition for new NJO projects and have preference in these. However, NJO members who wish to become (co-)principal (again) are required to audition for each new project. This includes the positions for principle and co-principle strings, first wind, first harp, timpani, bass trombone, tuba and piano. If the repertoire of a project requires special skills or solos for other instruments the NJO can decide to hold auditions to select musicians for these instruments as well.

4. The NJO Summer Festival and Tour are open to music students from all of Europe. Students who are NOT studying at a music academy in the Netherlands or Belgium, and are NOT Dutch citizens studying an instrument at a music academy elsewhere may send a video recording to apply for all positions still vacant after the live auditions in the Netherlands and Belgium. (see 3.4)

5.1 The jury of the auditions in the Netherlands consists of:

  • the artistic manager of the NJO or his representative (chair);
  • the NJO orchestra manager (jury member and secretary);
  • a professional musician for the specific instrument and/or orchestra section for which the auditions are organised. 

5.2 The jury of the auditions in Belgium consists of:

  • the artistic manager of the NJO or his representative (chair);
  • the NJO orchestra manager (jury member and secretary).

5.3 In special circumstances the NJO may change the composition of the jury.

6. The artistic manager and orchestra manager of the NJO are responsible for the selection of the best participants possible for the NJO, for the choice of (co-)principal players and for deciding the positions of all other players. They do this based upon the auditions and their knowledge about the performance of musicians in preceding projects.

7. The results of the auditions will be sent as soon as possible after the last audition has finished. It is not possible to obtain information about the audition results until after the final results have been sent to all applicants.

8. NJO audition days are tightly scheduled and candidates who fail to turn up can cause considerable delay. Therefore, if a candidate fails to turn up at the allotted time without prior notice (messages can be left at the orchestra manager's telephone voicemail +31 (0) 615375844 and email address danielle@njo.nl), or without a valid medical reason on the day, then the NJO will make a note of this in the candidate’s NJO file. That may have a negative influence on the candidate's future involvement with the NJO.

9. For coaching purposes, representatives of the Dutch and Belgium music academies are welcome to attend the auditions of their own students in the Netherlands and Belgium. They will not vote and neither will they attend the deliberation of the jury.

10. All decisions of the jury and the NJO team are final and not subject to discussion. Applicants will have the opportunity to receive feedback on their audition after they have received the audition results.

APPLICATION AND PARTICIPATION IN PROJECTS

11.1 NJO members (see 12) do not need to audition for new NJO projects and will be given preference for these. However, NJO members who wish to become (co-)principal (again) are required to audition for each new project. This includes the positions for principle and co-principle strings, first wind, first harp, timpani, bass trombone, tuba and piano. If the repertoire of a project requires special skills or solos for other instruments then the NJO can decide to select musicians for these instruments by audition as well.

11.2 NJO members (see 12) who have taken part in an NJO project will be given preference for the next project (orchestration permitted). All NJO members will be given the opportunity to apply for the next project (orchestration permitted) without the need of to audition (except for the (co-)principal and first positions, see 3.5 and 11.1). Members who wish to participate in a next project need to log in to apply.

11.3 When applying for the audition or applying as a member for a project, the applicant/member is obliged to be and remain 100% available for the upcoming project. Cancellation without good reason (to be judged by the NJO staff) may lead to cancellation of the preference position and/or the NJO membership.

11.4 Participation in a project is only possible for the complete project. Participants are not allowed to miss any rehearsal or concert either wholly or partially for any other reason than illness or urgent (first or second degree) family-related problems like a serious accident, illness or death, at the discretion of the NJO staff. In the event of cancellation due to illness of the musician or his/her family members, a medical certificate is required. Participants will not be granted dispensation for other performances.

11.5 By applying for and participating in NJO projects, the applicant/participant agrees to participate without reimbursement in all rehearsals (also public), concerts, publicity and other NJO events such as those for sponsors, performances at unusual concert locations, CD, radio-and television recordings, press and photo reports. The participant transfers all rights of her/his performance without any limitation in time and place to the NJO.

11.6 Participants in NJO projects are expected to have sufficiently prepared their parts/the music before the start of a project.

MEMBERSHIP

12.1 NJO Membership:
After a successful audition and participation in the upcoming NJO project, applicants studying in the Netherlands or Belgium and Dutch citizens studying at a music academy elsewhere will become a member of the NJO.

When after the audition the candidate is selected as a reserve musician and the candidate is invited to join the orchestra, after participation in the upcoming NJO project, applicants studying in the Netherlands or Belgium and Dutch citizens studying at a music academy elsewhere will become a reserve musician for the next NJO project(s). 

Membership lasts for a maximum of two years starting from:

  • 1 January for members who auditioned in the preceding autumn.
  • 1 July for members who auditioned in the preceding spring.

12.2 NJO members can participate in:
- NJO symphony orchestra projects, such as the Winter Tours, the Summer Festivals and the Summer Tours (orchestration permitted).

NJO members can also be selected for other projects such as:
- NJO chamber orchestra projects;
- NJO Jong Metropole Orchestra projects;
- NJO opera projects;
- NJO ensemble projects;
- MusXchange (the exchange programme of several European youth orchestras);
- Professional NJO projects in cooperation with organisations such as the professional Dutch orchestras and opera houses (for these projects members of the NJO can sometimes receive a fee);
- Professional NJO concerts for NJO sponsors and relations (for these projects members of the NJO can sometimes receive a fee).

12.3 Members who take part in a project will be preferred for the next project (orchestration permitted). Members are not obliged to participate in each project. However, if a member decides to skip one or more project(s) then he/she will lose this preference position. New members will be selected at the auditions and they will then be preferred instead of the members who skipped the project. Members who play an instrument less commonly used in an orchestra, such as saxophone and euphonium, will keep their preference position until the next project the instrument is needed in.

12.4 NJO membership is valid up to and including the age of 26 years (at the starting date of each project) and lasts for a maximum of two years (see 12.1) as long as the member is studying an instrument at a music academy in the Netherlands or Belgium or as a Dutch citizen studying an instrument at a music academy elsewhere.
NJO members can take part in NJO projects (orchestration permitted) without the need to audition again. However, for the principal and co-principal strings, first winds, first harp, timpani, bass trombone, tuba and piano positions, new auditions will be held for each new project. If the repertoire of a project requires special skills or solos for other instruments then the NJO can decide to select musicians for these instruments by audition as well. NJO members who wish to apply or re-apply for one of these positions are required to audition for these positions and have to submit an application form before the closing date of the audition. An audition for these positions does not extend the length of the NJO membership.

NJO members who became members in the Winter Tours of 2016 or 2017 or the Summer Festival and Tour of 2016 start their membership on 1 January 2017 and their membership will last until 31 December 2018.

For NJO members who graduate and/or finish their studies at a music academy in the Netherlands or Belgium or for Dutch NJO members who graduate or finish their studies at a music academy in general, the membership will last until the end of the first NJO project (NJO Winter Tour or NJO Summer Festival and Tour) following their graduation/completion of studies.

12.5 After their membership has expired (see 12.1 and 12.4) former members can still be invited for projects of the NJO, however new and current members will be given preference. A new membership may be applied for by doing a new audition in accordance with the prevailing NJO audition rules and regulations (including age limit).

12.6 Auditions played during the membership do not extend the length of the membership. Only after the expiration date, the membership can be renewed by applying for and doing a new audition in accordance with the prevailing NJO audition rules and regulations (including age limit).

12.7 Jong Metropole Orchestra Membership
Participants in Jong Metropole projects cannot become a member of the NJO but can become a member of the Jong Metropole Orchestra. 

COSTS

13. Audition candidates must pay for the travelling expenses and any other costs they incur for the auditions. These expenses cannot be claimed from the NJO.

14. The NJO keeps participation fees in NJO projects as low as possible and these projects are often free of charge. For special projects (such as the international Summer Tour) the NJO can require a contribution fee from each participant. This will be announced on the NJO website and the application form. Travelling with the whole orchestra during NJO projects will be organised and paid for by the NJO and partly covered by this obligatory contribution fee from the participants. 

15. Participants must pay for the travelling expenses to and from the place(s) where a project is held. The international Summer Tour always starts and ends in the Netherlands. Traveling by car will only be reimbursed when consulted with the orchestra manager and when travelling with more than one participant per car.

GENERAL

16. The NJO expects everyone involved in NJO projects to treat other people as they would like to be treated themselves: behave with respect and consideration towards others and other people's possessions. Misbehaviour of any kind can lead to immediate exclusion from the project and of access to the places where a project is held, immediate termination of the NJO membership and/or exclusion from any other project of the NJO. Any such decision will be taken by the NJO staff. The costs of any damage will be recovered from the person(s) causing it. All travelling expenses and other costs that arise from such an (immediate) exclusion will be paid for by the person excluded.

17. Each participant in an NJO project is obliged to have full insurance for his/her instruments, full health insurance, travel insurance and third-party insurance (liability insurance) during the entire project. The NJO does not cover any costs for instruments, medical care, or damage or injury caused by or to third parties.

18. The NJO reserves the right - subject to clear arguments - to deviate from the above rules.


Tips for auditions:
The key to a successful audition is thorough preparation of both the solo piece and the orchestral excerpts. Make time for your excerpts, listen to recordings of the works and/or take a look at the score. It is important that you play the excerpts accurately, but also with sensitivity to the context of the whole piece, paying particular attention to accurate rhythm, tempi, dynamics and tuning.