We are offering young musicians the opportunity to be mentored by a member of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House with Overture: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Mentorship.

Age 18-25 and can play a musical instrument? We are excited to present a unique opportunity to learn with members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, in collaboration with Black Lives in Music (BLiM).

Eligible candidates

We are looking for young people from throughout the UK who identify as being from the global majority background or from another underrepresented group, who play the following instruments:




Double Bass








The programme

If you are selected, you will be partnered with a musician from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (OROH), who will mentor you throughout the 2023-24 Season (between October 2023 and July 2024). A personal programme will be created for each individual but will include:

  • Induction day and 'meet and greet' with artists of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
  • Access to a private rehearsal and a backstage tour of the Royal Opera House
  • Support from a mentor, including six lessons with a focus on preparing excerpts from opera and ballet music
  • Opportunities to watch rehearsals
  • Side-by-side sessions, playing alongside members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, with a focus on opera and ballet repertory
  • Ticket to a dress rehearsal (usually only available to members of the Royal Opera House)
  • A mock audition to help with future applications
  • External pastoral support from BLiM
  • Reimbursement for travel and meal expenses
How to apply

Please fill in the expression of interest form by 14 August 2023 by clicking 'apply now' below. We will then send details about how to submit your application, which will include:

  • A five-minute audition video of yourself performing a piece of your choice (unaccompanied)
  • A video recording of yourself performing two of the required excepts (from the booklet that we will send to you)
  • EITHER a video of three to five minutes in which you introduce yourself (e.g. your background, your musical experience and how you may benefit from being an Overture mentee)
  • OR a written statement in which you introduce yourself

Your place on the mentorship scheme is conditional on confirmation that you meet the programme selection criteria. We embrace and celebrate the different contributions that everyone brings to our organisation; we encourage applicants to fill in all sections of the application form to help us have an accurate understanding of you and your skills.

If you have any questions regarding the scheme, please e-mail  orohmentor@roh.org.uk. To find out more about the Royal Opera House's commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, see Our Commitments.

Case study: Lucy and Marina
Orchestra Mentorship ©2022 Laura Aziz
Orchestra Mentorship ©2022 Laura Aziz

In 2022 Lucy joined the Royal Opera House orchestra mentorship scheme, working with Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Principal Bass Clarinettist, Marina Finnamore who supported Lucy on the Overture programme as her mentor.

Lucy explains: 'Whilst I enjoy being at Durham University, which has an incredible student-led music scene, I often felt inferior in comparison to some of my peers as I didn’t have the opportunities my peers did whilst growing up. The chance to be part of national schemes such as National Youth Orchestra were not possible for me for financial and geographical reasons, and I began to doubt my performing abilities. When I was accepted onto the Royal Opera House orchestral mentorship scheme it gave me a huge confidence boost and from the moment Marina walked through the doors on the induction day and greeted me with a smile, I knew that we would work well together.'

A clarinettist with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House for 26 years Marina was keen to mentor young talent through the Overture scheme and set out on her mentoring journey ‘armed with no sense of purpose other than trying to do some good, and some words of positive encouragement from Roger Wilson (a project lead at Black Lives in Music, co-collaborators on this project).

'I met Lucy for the first time in September and that afternoon the mentees sat with their mentors in the orchestra to experience an orchestra rehearsal of La Bohème. Throughout the rehearsal I pointed out to Lucy the various aspects of good orchestral technique that my colleagues were demonstrating. Following this came the hard work of the consultation lessons and preparing our mentees for a mock audition – an opportunity to experience the kind of audition they will undergo in their career and receive immediate feedback from a friendly panel of orchestra musicians, including their mentor.'

Describing Lucy’s first lesson, Marina says ‘she played very timidly, so we worked on improving her tone quality and volume…During every subsequent lesson she rewarded our mutual efforts by surpassing both of our expectations. Sitting next to me in the pit for a general rehearsal gave her the opportunity to hear the necessary level of dynamic to project to the audience at the back of the amphitheatre, which I referred back to during our lessons.’ 

Orchestra Mentorship ©2022 Laura Aziz
Orchestra Mentorship ©2022 Laura Aziz

It has been a real privilege to be taught by someone who has been in the industry for so long and through her expert mentorship, I have really developed as a musician.

Lucy reflects: 'Marina has made me think more deeply about my breathing and support whilst playing, the shape of the music, and the overall sound quality that I produce, and I am pleased to report this great advice has led to a really noticeable difference in my playing.'

Both Lucy and Marina have found the experience to be truly rewarding. For Lucy, the offer of a Postgraduate place at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance following Marina’s guidance in lessons means she now ‘dares to dream of an orchestral career’, and for Marina, her proudest moment was Lucy’s mock audition which she describes as being ‘full of character, technically impressive and a world apart from the level of playing I’d witnessed only four months ago’.

Sign up now to our newsletter to get our latest news, offers and alerts

Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation, a charitable company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales (Company number 480523) Charity Registered (Number 211775)