Competitive conservatoires offer places to Music students after tough video auditions

Competitive conservatoires offer places to Music students after tough video auditions

Music students at Peter Symonds College are celebrating winning places to study music at a host of prestigious conservatoires around the country.

Students Lilia Collier-Smith, double bass, and Cam Rossi, saxophone, have places at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Cam, who has been awarded a major scholarship by the Guildhall, said “The interview process was quite strange this year having everything over zoom and phone calls, but the staff at Guildhall were amazing and made it feel almost normal.”

Student Hanna Csermely will be studying piano at the Royal Northern College of Music; Tom Wright and Archie McMorran will be studying composition while Robyn Jones will be studying voice at Trinity Laban, London; and Poppy Hughes will be studying trumpet on a classical/jazz combined course at Leeds Conservatoire.

Poppy Hughes said “I am delighted to have received an offer from Leeds Conservatoire. As a trumpet player I struggled to make the choice between studying classical or jazz music and I’m so excited to say that Leeds Conservatoire offers me both. I am looking forward to developing my passion and to get involved with new opportunities helping to prepare me for a career in music.”

Robyn Jones commented, “I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to study at Trinity Laban; as a singer it’s always very ambiguous if your voice will be ready at 18 to study at a conservatoire, so I am feeling very relieved and excited that all my hard work paid off.”

She added, “I definitely would not have been able to do it without the College’s support, particularly as all the auditions were recorded. The college were amazing at supporting me through the whole experience, providing a pianist to accompany me and lots of support from both my voice tutor and the whole specialist music team.”

Due to the restrictions of the pandemic students had to audition for conservatoire places by video recording, with very little prior notice. Hanna Csermely noted that, “Auditioning online this year changed many aspects of the audition process but my teachers were so supportive and adaptable to the situation, providing me with the best opportunities to record professionally. I'm so excited to start my piano studies at the Royal Northern College of Music next year and it is without a doubt that my teachers at Peter Symonds College allowed me to achieve my goals.”

Saxophonist Cam Rossi, who auditioned with a backing band of teachers, agreed: “Auditioning over video was quite a challenge as it wasn't in front of the panel, but in my case it was nice to be playing with people that I've played with a lot and having a connection to the band I was playing with made me a lot less nervous, thanks to the amazing teacher jazz trio that are at Symonds!”

Head of Music Rachel Platt praised her team, stating “These applications are always a real team effort. Our Head of Keyboard, Samantha Carrasco, organised the performances and accompanied the students, with many hours of rehearsal. Sarah Mann, our music technician, made it all possible with high-quality audio and video. We are grateful to Ted Carrasco, Head of Pop and Jazz Performance, for organising the live trio of teachers performing on Cam Rossi’s video which also included Robert Johnston and John Dickson. Michael Gale supervised the applications with his invaluable expertise and advice, and other PSC peripatetic instrumental and vocal teachers helped supervise the preparation of required repertoire. We are also grateful to the Symondians Association for covering some of the additional costs.”

Cam Rossi also enjoyed the opportunity to receive advice from the world-renowned jazz musician Julian Joseph in an online master class before the audition. Cam, who has been awarded a major scholarship by the Guildhall, said “College has helped me so much over this period by giving me advice about interviews and conduct when I'm talking to people from conservatoires. The jazz teachers at College were great to be able rehearse with and were so supportive through the whole recording process.

“I feel amazing to have won my place at Guildhall! I can't wait to start there; to further my knowledge of jazz and push myself to the limits as a player.”

For further information about this article or the college in general, please contact our Marketing department by telephone on 01962 857553 or by email

Competitive conservatoires offer places to Music students after tough video auditions


4 March 2021