Audition FAQs – Music staff

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and the audition process for music staff. For any questions not answered here, please contact the Auditions Coordinator at

What is the structure of the Programme?

Young Artists are employed on a full-time contract for two years, from September to August. It is not currently possible to be a Young Artist for just one year. Music staff receive a basic salary plus occasional additional payment for playing for certain events. N/As may be considered for concerts and recitals elsewhere if compatible with Programme commitments, but generally not for full productions.

Who can apply for the Programme?

Applications for the Programme are accepted from all countries and all nationalities. There is no fixed age limit for applicants. However, applicants should bear in mind that when choosing to audition, the panel will consider the stage they have reached in their careers and where they will be in terms of career development and age after two years on the Programme.

Do applicants need permission to work in the UK to apply for the Programme?

No. The Royal Opera House will apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship for successful candidates without a work visa and write a Letter of Invitation, which can then be used to apply for one.

What material is needed to apply?

A completed application through YAP Tracker (available from late autumn). This requires a CV, photograph, a scan of the information page of the applicant’s passport or other ID showing date of birth, and two confidential recommendations. AV recordings of the applicant playing or conducting should be included if possible, but this is not a compulsory requirement.

What does it cost to apply?

There is no application fee for the Programme; however, YAP Tracker charges a small administration fee (currently $5)

Do I need to subscribe to YAP Tracker to apply?

No. All applicants have to log in with a user ID and password to upload their materials and submit applications, but free applicant-only accounts are available at

Can I use my friend’s account to apply?

No, YAP Tracker accounts cannot be shared. The system prevents duplicate submissions on any one account.

How do I complete a YAP Tracker application?

Once applicants have registered, they should log in and carefully read the application requirements. They should then upload all the required submission materials, including CV, photograph, documentation of date of birth and audio/video material (if applicable) on their profile page, complete all the remaining required fields and submit the form with payment. Take great care to enter the required information in the correct fields, especially when entering addresses and information about disabilities, if any.

What do I do if I have problems uploading my application to YAP Tracker?

If applicants have problems uploading any part of the application or have other technical issues with YAP Tracker, they should contact the YAP Tracker help team on The JPYAP Auditions Coordinator is not able to help with technical questions.

Can I express an interest in both opera and ballet?

Conductors may apply to be considered for either opera or ballet or both.

The skills required for an opera répétiteur and a ballet pianist are so different that the same applicant is unlikely to be suitable for both.

Can I apply as both a conductor and a répétiteur?

The skills of a ballet conductor and a ballet pianist are so different that the same person is unlikely to be suitable for both.

Opera applicants should state whether they are interested in a conductor/répétiteur position or a répétiteur position. Conductors applying for both Opera and Ballet positions can indicate this on the same YAP Tracker application form.

Do I need to be a good pianist?

Opera conductors and répétiteurs need to be excellent pianists as their role within the Royal Opera music staff during their time on the Programme involves acting as répétiteur for Royal Opera productions, playing for rehearsals and coaching singers.

Ballet pianists need to be excellent both at playing from a score and at improvising in order to be able to play for class and rehearsals.

Ballet conductors do not need a high standard of pianistic ability as they are not required to play for either class or rehearsal.

Who should write the recommendations?

Recommendations should be written by music or performance professionals (including, but not limited to, conductors, directors, agents, heads of music colleges, etc) but not the applicant’s current (or former) teacher or agent, as they have worked too closely with the applicants to provide an unbiased view of their ability.  If either of the recommendations is from a teacher or agent, the application will be rejected. There is no upper limit to the number of recommendations one person may write for different applicants.

How are recommendations submitted?

When completing the application form on YAP Tracker, the applicant must include the names and contact details of two referees. The website will generate an automated email to the referees asking them to upload their recommendations directly to the website. Recommendations cannot be accepted in any other way. Further information about how the recommendation process works can be found here.

What is the deadline for recommendations?

Two recommendations must have been received by the deadline, otherwise the application will be automatically rejected. The applicants are themselves responsible for ensuring that their application is complete and should contact their referees in plenty of time to ensure that they are happy to provide a recommendation and are able to do so by the deadline.

Applicants should check their application status on the YAP Tracker My Online Application page regularly to make sure that both recommendations have been uploaded. If recommendations are still pending, it may be because the request email went into the referee’s spam. The applicants are themselves responsible for contacting their referees to check if they have received the request email. If one or both recommendations is still missing when the deadline is due to close, applicants may enter contact details of up to two additional people to ensure they reach the required number of recommendations by the deadline. See the YAP Tracker website for instructions for resending a recommendation request, changing referees’ email address and adding or changing referees here. If the application has already been submitted, please contact the Auditions Coordinator by email to to make changes to the referees.

What should recommendations contain?

Recommendations must be written specifically for this application. They should ideally contain the following information: how the referee knows the applicant, in what context they have got to know them, whether they have seen them perform, why the applicant will benefit from being given a place, the applicant’s qualifications for the Programme and how the Programme will benefit the applicant’s future development.

How long should recommendations be?

There is no set number of words, but those submitting recommendations should bear in mind that the selection panel have to review a large number of applications and should therefore express themselves as concisely as possible.

In what language should recommendations be written?

Recommendations may be written in English, German, French or Italian.

Where are auditions held?

Currently all auditions are held in London at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

When are auditions held?

The dates of audition are stated in the guidelines (opera and ballet). Applicants must make themselves available for each round of the auditions. They can only be considered if they can attend auditions at this time. Auditions are not available at any other time of the year.

Who will be in the audition?

The opera audition panel comprises David Gowland (Artistic Director, JPYAP), Elaine Kidd (Head of Programme, JPYAP), and members of The Royal Opera Music Staff Mark Packwood and Susanna StrandersRichard Hetherington (Head of Music, The Royal Opera) and Antonio Pappano (Music Director, The Royal Opera) will join the panel for Round Two. A representative of the Oak Foundation may also attend.

The ballet audition panel comprises Koen Kessels (Music Director, The Royal Ballet), Barry Wordsworth (former Music Director, The Royal Ballet), David Gowland and Rob Clark (Head of Music, The Royal Ballet), with Elaine Kidd and Richard Hetherington meeting the shortlisted conductors before Round Two. A representative of the Oak Foundation may also attend.

Can I bring my pianist, agent, relative or friend?

No. All auditions are closed. The panel speak Italian, French and German as well as English.

What material should be presented for the audition?

The repertory to be prepared for the auditions changes each year. Details are included in the guidelines (opera and ballet).

Ballet applicants will be provided with scores in advance of the audition.

Opera conductors are not obliged to present their own act of an opera in the original language, but they should consider that at the Royal Opera House operas are almost always performed in the original language so this is what the panel would assume.

Who will accompany the audition?

Where relevant, David Gowland will play for opera conductor’s or a member of the Royal Opera or Royal Ballet music staff will play for conductors’ auditions. Applicants may not bring their own pianist.

What audition wear is appropriate?

Normal daytime audition dress is suitable.

How do applicants from non-EEA countries obtain a visa to attend the audition week?

Visa applications for attending auditions are not handled by the Royal Opera House. Applicants who are invited to audition and need a visa to do so can be sent a Letter of Invitation to take to their local British Embassy/Consulate to apply for a visa. Please contact the Auditions Coordinator as soon as possible at if this is required.

Is financial assistance available towards attending the audition week?

The Programme is unable to provide any financial assistance towards attending the auditions and does not refund travel expenses for attending audition. The Programme is also unable to provide or advise on accommodation.