Master of Music in Performance: Orchestral Artistry and Master of Performance (Guildhall Artist): Orchestral Artistry

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Thomas Søndergård conducts the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall

Key information:

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Application Fee: £123 GBP; Tuition Fees: See Fees section below
Apply by Monday 2 October 2023 for September 2024 entry
Level of study:
Mode of study:

About the MMus and MPerf programmes in Orchestral Artistry

Orchestral Artistry is an exciting professional specialism for advanced instrumentalists seeking a career in orchestral playing. This specialism is delivered in association with one of the world’s leading orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and it offers a course of study which is both highly distinctive and ground-breaking in scope, in a context akin to a professional environment.

Students take part in orchestral repertoire training, audition preparation/practice and coaching sessions with LSO players, as well as LSO rehearsal sit-ins, masterclasses and education and community projects.

See our Principal Study pages for further information on instrument-specific tuition and performance opportunities.

Watch the video

Find out more about the programme from Guildhall students, staff and LSO players, with footage from rehearsals with Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Antonio Pappano and the late Bernard Haitink.

Programme Focus & Opportunities

Both programmes focus on orchestral training and repertoire, education and outreach, and early career support. Individual lessons are led by Guildhall School’s professors, some of whom are LSO members. Students receive regular coaching in orchestral sectionals, audition experience, and instrumental classes.

  • Intensive orchestral repertoire training: full orchestra, sectionals and single-instrument classes from Guildhall professors and a variety of LSO players (with opportunities to play side-by-side with LSO players in Orchestral Artistry repertoire sessions)
  • Professional audition preparation and practice, with feedback
  • LSO rehearsal sit-ins (either listening within, or playing, alongside the section)
  • Occasional LSO performance opportunities with LSO Discovery, including at the Barbican and in Trafalgar Square
  • Masterclasses, Q&A sessions and coaching, either as an observer or a performer, with a variety of LSO players, guest soloists and conductors.
  • Shadowing and working alongside LSO players in LSO Discovery workshops (education & community programme)
  • Professional development sessions: developing knowledge and understanding of the orchestral ecosystem and its protocols

There are also masterclasses from LSO players, international soloists and members of Barbican's visiting orchestras and ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic (International Orchestra Partner), Australian Chamber Orchestra (International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court) and Jazz at Lincoln Center (International Associate Ensemble).

Students have sit-in opportunities, either listening or playing alongside LSO players in orchestral rehearsals conducted by its roster of international conductors including Chief Conductor Designate Sir Antonio Pappano, and access to the full range of the LSO’s education and community programmes. This will enable you to learn how community based programmes are delivered, and to meet professional workshop leaders, performers and administration teams.

Performance opportunities

Performance opportunities embrace a variety of orchestral contexts, including Guildhall Symphony Orchestra concerts at the Barbican, and the opera orchestra for productions by the School’s acclaimed Opera Department. Additionally, Orchestral Artistry students may have occasional opportunities to perform in LSO Discovery concerts and the annual Trafalgar Square concert.

LSO Discovery

You will be given a practical introduction to the LSO’s Discovery department, with its wide variety of education and community projects, with opportunities to shadow and play alongside LSO players in workshops, and to coach school-age musicians. This will enable you to learn how community-based programmes are delivered, and meet the professional animateurs, performers and administration teams involved in these projects.

Strings players in an LSO Orchestral Artistry rehearsal

The London Symphony Orchestra

Orchestral Artistry is delivered in association with the London Symphony Orchestra, Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in London where it performs around 70 concerts a year, alongside extensive international touring. Widely acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, the LSO has an enviable family of artists, with conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano as Chief Conductor Designate, Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth as Principal Guest Conductors, Sir Simon Rattle as Conductor Emeritus, Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate and Barbara Hannigan and André J Thomas as Associate Artists.

Pierre Boulez famously described the orchestra as ‘an ensemble of possibilities’ – and Orchestral Artistry embodies this challenge. The programme focuses on orchestral training, education and outreach and early career support for the orchestral players of the future.

We value an entrepreneurial attitude to the arts; not only will you master your craft, you will acquire the skills, knowledge and capabilities you need to become a high-achieving 21st century performing artist. LSO players share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of gifted orchestral musicians; and students gain confidence and a detailed understanding of what’s required at the highest level of the profession.

Students on the Orchestral Artistry programme works closely with LSO members in all sections of the orchestra. The current list of LSO players can be found here: Our Musicians | London Symphony Orchestra (

Programme Structure

  • MMus – One year full-time
  • MPerf – Two years full-time

The MMus programme meets all the criteria for a Masters level (level 7) award and a student successfully completing their studies will be awarded a Master of Music (or a Postgraduate Diploma, according to the modules taken). This programme concentrates on the student’s intense activities in Principal Study, but also includes core Contextual Studies and a wide range of Elective opportunities.

The MPerf shares the first year with MMus students, with the second year representing progression for the student in terms of depth and breadth of repertoire within a project-based structure that mimics, in a controlled environment, professional practice at the highest level. Students who successfully complete the programme will be awarded a Master of Performance (Guildhall Artist).