Glyndebourne is expanding its talent development scheme for orchestral instrumentalists, thanks to new funding from Jerwood Foundation.

The newly renamed Jerwood Pit Perfect scheme celebrates its sixth anniversary in 2023 and offers recent graduates the opportunity to join The Glyndebourne Sinfonia (formerly the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra) during Glyndebourne’s autumn season. The purpose of the scheme is to provide young instrumentalists with real-world work experience over a concentrated period.

The chosen players participate on an equal footing with established members of the orchestra and are paid for their participation. Places are offered to selected instrumentalists each year, depending on repertoire and vacancies. This year, the opportunities are as follows: 1st and 2nd Violin, Cello and Double Bass. 

Participants will take part in all rehearsals and performances during Glyndebourne’s autumn season, as well as being mentored by an existing member of the orchestra. They will receive further professional development opportunities including one-to-one instrumental lessons and seminars on life in the music profession.

Expanded for 2023, the programme is made possible by the generosity of Jerwood Foundation, which is supporting the scheme for the next three years, beginning with the 2023-24 season. Thanks to the increase in funding, for the first time this year Glyndebourne is able to offer two additional Associate Pit Perfect positions for instruments where there would not normally be a vacancy: Bassoon and Timpani. These players will partake in rehearsals and sit in on at least two performances. 

Glyndebourne’s autumn programme includes productions in November and December of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, plus concert performances of Haydn’s The Creation and Handel’s Messiah, and the return of the annual Glyndebourne Christmas Concert. In addition, for the first time this year Jerwood Pit Perfect participants will play in a number of chamber music performances at Glyndebourne and elsewhere, showcasing work newly commissioned from the 2023 participants of its Balancing the Score programme for composers from backgrounds currently underrepresented in classical music. 

One of last year’s Pit Perfect participants, violinist Iona McDonald, said of her experience: ‘Glyndebourne was my first professional experience and for it to be in such a safe, encouraging and welcoming environment was such a wonderful way to enter the profession.’

Jonathan Tunnell, Manager of The Glyndebourne Sinfonia, commented: ‘Continuing Glyndebourne’s commitment to developing artistic talent, we are delighted to be expanding the opportunities available to our Pit Perfect players this autumn, as well as widening our Pit Perfect Chamber Music programme. We are extremely grateful to Jerwood Foundation for enabling us to increase opportunities for the young, talented instrumentalists joining us this autumn.’

Lara Wardle, Executive Director, Jerwood Foundation commented: ‘I am very pleased that Jerwood Foundation is now funding the Jerwood Pit Perfect Scheme which provides young instrumentalists with invaluable real-world experience. Offering support to talented individuals at the start of their artistic careers is at the heart of our ethos and this significant three-year funding reaffirms our long-standing connection with Glyndebourne.’

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2023, with auditions to be held in London during late April / early May. Visit the Glyndebourne website or email for more information.