About the Orchesterzentrum|NRW

The Orchesterzentrum|NRW in Dortmund is a joint institution of the four state colleges of music in North Rhine-Westphalia (Detmold, Düsseldorf, Essen und Cologne) and the first-ever inter-college training centre for future orchestra musicians. In the Orchestral Masters Program, students receive practical and targeted preparation in four semesters for a career with famous orchestras. For graduates of a music college who see their future in an orchestra, this Master's degree offers an extensive degree of specialisation.

Study Courses

At the heart of the course is the training of orchestra-specific skills and preparation for auditions and the probationary year. In addition to individual lessons on an instrument, the curriculum includes audition simulations, sectional rehearsals, orchestral studies, works analyses and ensemble playing. Furthermore, performance coaching, relaxation techniques and mental training are offered. In this manner, the students in the Orchesterzentrum|NRW prepare themselves not only technically, but also mentally for performance situations and auditions. Seminars on culture management or music physiology supplement the curriculum at the Orchesterzentrum|NRW.

The aim of the Master's study course is to qualify the students fully in four semesters for their future profession and improve their prospects of finding a position in a professional orchestra.


In order to create a close link with the orchestral world, numerous frequently-changing concertmasters, section leaders and soloists from German and European orchestras teach on the "Orchestral Playing" Master's study course (at the Orchesterzentrum). For this, the Orchesterzentrum|NRW avails itself of the services of professional radio, concert and opera orchestras to provide a comprehensive picture of the future employment market. During their work with leading orchestral musicians, the students become acquainted with a wide range of musical expectations and opinions.

Audition simulations help students to assess and improve their own skills. Through contact with the professional musicians, a network is created during the studies which is of benefit to the students during their professional career. Experienced psychologists and coaches deal with the mental preparation for auditions and the probationary year. Individual lessons as well as some of the orchestral studies and sectional rehearsals are supervised by professors and lecturers from the music colleges.

Orchestral Work

The profile of the Orchesterzentrum|NRW is characterised by first-class orchestral work. During the course of the Master's program the students are regularly involved in orchestra projects. Under the direction of internationally renowned conductors, they practise during these study phases how to react to different requirements, to listen closely to one another and find their place in the orchestra network. At the same time they expand their stylistic skills and their repertoire. Through the symphony concerts which are held once a semester at Dortmund Concert Hall, the students also collect valuable performance experience.


The Orchesterzentrum|NRW has been housed in a purpose-built building in Dortmund city centre since April 2009. In proximity to Dortmund Concert Hall the students find the ideal working conditions. The classrooms and practice rooms of the Orchesterzentrum|NRW offer outstanding acoustics and are precisely tailored to the needs of the musicians. The building also has its own chamber music hall with 354 seats, which is used for several concert series of the Orchesterzentrum|NRW and can be rented by other event organisers.

Admission Requirements

The Orchestral Master’s Program is aimed at applicants who have already obtained a degree (instrumental training with at least the main subject mark of 1.5) or a comparable recognised qualification from abroad. Prospective students should address their application directly to one of the four participating music colleges in Detmold, Düsseldorf, Essen or Cologne, where the entrance auditions are also held. Students can begin at the start of summer or winter semester.