Below is a list of the top rated audition pieces used by professional symphony orchestras. If your goal is to play in a symphony, you will eventually be called upon to audition on one or more of these. All are difficult bassoon solos or technical passages. Some are technically difficult, some musically difficult and others difficult for both.
You should begin practicing these if you are a serious bassoonist well before you are ever asked to audition. Bassoon solo excerpt books and collections of the complete parts are available through double reed specialty shops and sheet music stores. Listen to recordings to get a sense of how the part fits into the musical landscape and record yourself playing the excerpts to get some feedback. Advice from an experienced symphony bassoonist in private lessons could reveal some tricks of the trade for special fingerings that help in the sticky passages.
(More specifics on these solos and what makes them difficult to follow at a later date.)
- Mozart–Marriage of Figaro Overture
- Tchaikovsky–Symphony #4
- Beethoven–Symphony #4
- Ravel–Piano Concerto in G
- Tchaikovsky–Symphony #6
- Bartok–Concerto for Orchestra
- Stravinsky–Rite of Spring
- Berlioz–Symphonie Fantastique
Top Solo Concerto: Mozart
A partial list of additional bassoon excerpts commonly used in auditions:
Bach Suites, Beethoven Symphonies, Brahms Symphonies and Violin Concerto, Mozart Piano Concertos and Symphonies (especially #35 and 41), Tchaikovsky Symphony #5, Wagner Overture to Tannhauser, Shostakovich Symphonies (especially #9), all works of Stravinsky, Strauss, Ravel, Mahler, Prokofiev Classical Symphony, Peter and the Wolf.
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