TFC Auditions

The Boston Symphony Orchestra invites applicants to audition for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra invites applicants to audition for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

BSO Choral Director and Tanglewood Festival Chorus Conductor James Burton will be hearing new member auditions on Thursday, September 5th from 4 to 10pm.

Interested candidates are invited to complete an online application and submit an .mp3 recording (see below). Please note, there are limited audition slots available, and selected candidates will be notified by no later than Tuesday, September 3rd to confirm an audition time at Symphony Hall. Candidates who are not initially selected will be notified of any openings in our schedule.

Highlights of the Symphony Hall 2019-2020 TFC Schedule:

September 19 – 21, 2019
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons, conductor
BEETHOVEN Fantasy in C minor for piano, chorus and orchestra
POULENC Gloria, for soprano, chorus, and orchestra

November 21 – 26, 2019
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Galina GRIGORJEVA On Leaving
For unaccompanied choir (November 21, 23, 26)
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 2, To October (recorded for DG release)

December 5 – 24, 2019
Boston Pops Orchestra
Keith Lockhart, Conductor
Holiday Pops

February 27 – March 3, 2020
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Giancarlo Guerrero, Conductor

March 26 – 28, 2020
Thomas Adès, conductor

April 17, 2020
Post-concert Casual Friday performance
James Burton, conductor
*celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus

 Requesting an Audition

  1. Please complete the application linked here by Wednesday, August 28th.
  2. Please send an .mp3 recording of yourself singing a classical piece of your choosing to by Wednesday, August 28th with the following specifications:
    • The recording should last no longer than 3 minutes.
    • It may be a cappella or accompanied.
    • It may be in any language.
    • Please sing straight through the piece. No post production editing should be used on the recording - a recording on a smart phone is acceptable.
    • Please label your .mp3 “Last Name_ First Name _ September 2019” and use the subject line “September 2019 TFC Audition” when submitting via email to
    • Please submit by no later than Wednesday, August 28th to


September 5th Audition Details

In person auditions will take place at Boston Symphony Hall on September 5th from 4 to 10pm. If you are offered an audition time, more information regarding building access, etc. will be sent via email with your confirmed time by no later than Tuesday, September 3rd. Each audition will last approximately 15 minutes.

  • Please prepare ONE classical piece of your own choosing which best shows off your vocal talents, your vocal range and your musicality. The piece should fit one of the following categories:
  • An art song, eg Caro mio ben by Giordani, An die musik by Schubert, The Vagabond by Vaughan Williams, Sure on this Shining Night by Barber etc
  • An opera aria, eg Voi che sapete by Mozart etc
  • A solo aria from an oratorio or classical piece, eg Pie Jesu from Fauré Requiem, Esurientes implevit from Bach Magnificat, Ev’ry valley from Handel Messiah
  • An extract from a choral work in which your voice part is prominent or frequently used, eg Kyrie from Mozart Requiem
  • Please note that songs from the American Songbook, folk songs or Musical Theatre numbers are not permitted for this audition.

The piece should be between 2 and 4 minutes in length. Lengthy instrumental introductions may be cut to a reasonable length, and if the piece has a lengthy postlude this may be cut in order to fit the duration criteria. 

The piece should be sung in any one of the following languages: English, French, German, Italian or Latin. 

Your piece will be accompanied by our pianist, and it need not be memorized. A music stand will be provided but you are not obliged to use it if you would prefer to hold your music.  

Please use a recognized published edition of the piece (internet editions can be unreliable and contain musical inaccuracies). The pianist’s copy should be legible and have page turns which are practical. Please organize this in advance of your audition.

  • Please choose a simple song which we will hear you sing unaccompanied and from memory. This can be a folk song, hymn or a simple melody. It should be sung in English and last no more than 90 seconds.
  • You will be asked to do some sight reading. Please sing as much of your part as possible, ie notes, rhythms, words, dynamics and articulations. You will be given a starting pitch and an indication of the tempo. So as to give the impression of it being a ‘live’ choir reading a new work, the accompanist will play the other vocal lines, but will not play your part, nor stop the performance in order to correct. You may be asked to sing more than one piece of sight reading. The languages of the sight reading pieces will be either English or Latin.  
  • Ear tests will consist of familiar tasks, such as naming and pitching intervals, identifying specific pitches in a chord of 3 or 4 notes etc. The purpose of the tests is to establish the accuracy and speed of your musical ear.
  • You may be asked to sing some vocal exercises as directed by the panel. The purpose of the exercises will be to establish in more detail the range of your voice, and your ability to respond to technical instruction, such as altering the placement of the voice, vocal timbre, vowel colors and so on. 

Audition Checklist

  • Choose and prepare a 2-4 min accompanied piece which fits the criteria as outlined above
  • Choose and prepare an unaccompanied short song to sing from memory – no longer than 90 seconds
  • Organize copies of your music to bring for the audition
  • Prepare for the Sight Reading and Ear Tests
  • Practice!