For roughly a month at the beginning of every year, the Festival’s Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy travels across the country to hold auditions in 11 cities for the incomparable Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. The result of this month-long audition marathon is an extremely talented group of young professionals comprised of both new and returning musicians.

Here’s what the audition schedule looked like for this year:

Thursday, January 23 | Houston – Rice University Shepherd School of Music
Saturday, January 25 | New York – DiMenna Center for Classical Music
Sunday, January 26 | New York – DiMenna Center for Classical Music
Thursday, January 30 | Bloomington – Indiana University
Friday, January 31 |  Charleston – Spoleto Festival USA
Thursday, February 6 | Los Angeles – The Colburn School
Wednesday, February 12 | San Francisco – SF Conservatory of Music
Sunday, February 16 | Miami – New World Symphony
Thursday, February 20 | Boston – New England Conservatory
Friday, February 21 | Cleveland – Cleveland Institute of Music
Saturday, February 22 | Chicago – Roosevelt University

AuditionImages

Once selected, the 90 (give or take a few) musicians travel to Charleston and embark on their Festival adventure. Days are long, rehearsals are plenty, and temperatures are hot, but these dedicated musicians never back down from the challenge. The Orchestra works closely with John Kennedy, as well as with guest conductors in opera, symphonic, choral, chamber, and contemporary music performances.

Don’t miss the Orchestra at the following 2014 Festival performances:

CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA
BEETHOVEN TRANSFORMED
KÁT’A KABANOVÁ
FACING GOYA
EL NIÑO
The Orchestra also performs at select INTERMEZZI and MUSIC IN TIME performances.

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Lucky for the Festival, John Kennedy is very active on Twitter.

19 TWEETS CHRONICLING THE SFUSA ORCHESTRA AUDITION PROCESS
(via @JohnKennedySF and @SpoletoFestival)