Audition Process – 2018 Guidelines

Tamburitzans Audition

We are interested in your musical talents – dancing, singing and playing an instrument. The expectation of the Tamburitzans is that you will positively contribute to our ensemble and support our mission through hard work and commitment during which you will maintain a good academic standing at your college or university (above a 2.0 GPA or the equivalent of a “C” average). At all times you will make every effort to be a courteous and respectful teammate. Talent + academic achievement + good teamwork are the ingredients for a successful tenure as a Tamburitzan!


All of our Tamburitzan student-performers are full-time college students.
This is a requirement to become and remain a member of the ensemble.

Any student aspiring to become a Tamburitzans performer must satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Individual that has been accepted into a full time undergraduate or graduate program at a Pittsburgh based college or university for the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • Individual currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student and will continue their studies as such at a Pittsburgh based college or university for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Please Note: All students must currently be a student in good standing at their respective institution.


Each auditionee must complete and submit a Tamburitzans Application.
The Tamburitzans Application may be downloaded below, or you may write, call, or e‑mail the Tamburitzans at:

The Tamburitzans
1801 Boulevard of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 224-2071

The Tamburitzans Application must be sent directly to the Tamburitzans office and received by January 31, 2018.

Download (PDF, 483KB)


General Auditions at the Tamburitzans Building in Pittsburgh will be held on Wednesday February 7, 2018.
If the pre-set date or the Pittsburgh location are not convenient, then an audition may be videotaped and submitted for consideration.
Video Auditions must be received at the Tamburitzans’ office no later than January 26, 2018.

General auditions are set up in 15‑minute time slots from 9:00 AM to 12:15 PM and from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM on the designated audition date.


If you have a preferred time, you should call as soon as possible. On audition day, please arrive at the Tamburitzans Building at least one‑half hour before your scheduled time to allow for warming‑up and instrument tuning. If you do not appear at your designated time, you will be rescheduled either for the end of the day or for the next day.

Video Submissions [also view an audition information video here]

If travel to Pittsburgh for a live audition is not possible, the applicant may submit their audition on DVD. Pre‑recorded auditions may be done in the privacy of your own home or at any facility of your choice. Keep in mind that the judging panelists are interested in viewing only you, the applicant.

Make certain that you are the only one in view during your presentation, since it is very distracting and sometimes confusing for the judges (and possibly unfair to you) when individuals other than the auditionee are visible in the video.

Tips for auditionees assembling a video presentation:

* Make sure that your audio levels are “just right” ‑‑ not too low, not too high.
* It is good to begin with a close‑up shot of yourself as you tell the panel what your audition program consists of. That way, you can proceed through your entire audition without stopping.
* Speak slowly and clearly. Do not give your name — just as all of the live auditionees are given a number, your video will be assigned a number when it is received in our office.
* What to wear: Dark, solid colors are best for viewing. Avoid large prints and stripes.
* Background: plain backgrounds work best; do not perform in front of a window or light source, as this will create a “silhouette” effect and make it difficult for the panel to view you properly.

All video auditions must be submitted in DVD format.
All DVDs must be received no later than January 26, 2018 and become the property of the Tamburitzans.

NOTE: All auditionees will be assigned an identification number to be used by the panel of judges.


There are four main points which dictate the judging criteria for the Tamburitzans audition process:

  1. The auditionee’s overall talent
  2. The quantity of graduating seniors/departing members and type of talent to be replaced
  3. The type of talent required by the style of show selections which are being prepared for the upcoming season(s)
  4. The poise, stage presence and appearance of the auditionee.

It should be understood that the Tamburitzans ideally look for performers who are multi‑talented. In this way, the performer’s talents would be utilized according to the needs of the group and the demands of the performance. Despite this fact, however, there are some performers who will be instrumentalists most of the time; some who will be dancers most of the time, and some who will be singers most of the time. Also, outstanding talent in a single, specialized area does not guarantee a spot in the ensemble. For example, the Tamburitzans have little need for more than two performers who are stringed‑bass specialists; however, if one of the Tamburitzans graduating seniors is a bass specialist then logically, a suitable replacement must be found.


A panel of judges (comprised of Tamburitzans staff and local experts in the fields of musical, vocal, and dance performance) will be involved in the selection process. Each applicant will be given a listing and biography of the panel members on the day of the audition. This panel will be headed by the Artistic Director of the Tamburitzans. All panel members have a professional obligation not to discuss the audition proceedings with anyone other than another panel member.


The categories of talent utilized in a Duquesne University Tamburitzans performance are:

  1. Dance     2. Vocal     3. Instrumental

Remember that you are in competition with other applicants. Because of the nature of a Tamburitzans performance and because of the limited number of scholarships, all auditionees should prepare their presentations in a way which demonstrates talent in as many categories as is possible.

Dance: The dance portions of a Tamburitzans production are mainly folk and character styles. Ballet training is also desirable, as many of the choreographies which the Tamburitzans present also utilize ballet techniques. If at all possible, the auditionee’s dance presentation should be oriented towards these dance types; however, a jazz, tap, or ballet presentation is a perfectly acceptable means of conveying the auditionee’s abilities, and will by no means be given less consideration. It is recommended that a modern (interpretive or non-rhythmic) dance presentation be avoided.

Vocal: Although the Tamburitzans show is based upon folk styles, the vocal presentation can be of any style or type ‑ folk, pop, classical, etc. Even if your talent is strictly instrumental or strictly dance, it is recommended that your audition include a vocal presentation. If you do not include it, the judges may request that you sing something on the spot in order to determine your vocal abilities. If singing is not your specialty, then pick a song that you like and know fairly well (“Happy Birthday” would be fine).

If your talent is strictly vocal, please know that although it is certainly possible, the Tamburitzans rarely select an auditionee solely on the basis of his/her vocal talent.

Instrumental: The Tamburitzans have a need for a wide variety of instrumentalists.

The following is a list of the musical instruments commonly used in a Tamburitzans performance:

  1. Tamburitza Family: Prim, Brač, Čelo, Bugarija, Berde
  2. Accordion: Piano, Button
  3. Woodwinds/Reeds: Flute, Piccolo, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone (soprano)
  4. Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass
  5. Fretted: Guitar, Mandolin
  6. Brass: Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba/Euphonium
  7. Percussion: Various hand drums, Tupan (folk drum), Drum Kit
  8. Other East European Folk Instruments: Kaval, Balalaika, Domra, Bandura, Panpipe (Nai), Frula, Cimbalom (hammered dulcimer), Gadulka, etc.
  9. Keyboard

If your instrumental specialty is not included on the list, still include it in your audition. For example, a piano performance will at least indicate an understanding of music and a level of musicality, but should be limited to a maximum of three minutes.

The time limit for the audition is exactly 15 minutes. If your presentation exceeds this time limit, you will be asked to stop. On the other hand, if the total audition is less than 15 minutes, this is not a problem; the auditionee will not be given less consideration. Occasionally, an auditionee may be asked to wait a few moments before continuing. In this case, the pause will not be counted towards the 15‑minute total.

Arrange the audition so that little time is wasted. Instrumental and vocal presentations should be presented first, and the dance presentation last. In this way we will not have to wait for you to catch your breath. It is recommended that the presentation be balanced in such a way so as to give an adequate sampling of each talent category ‑ no one talent category should exceed 10 minutes. For example, if you will be making presentations on more than one instrument in addition to dancing and singing, make sure that the total instrumental portion of your audition is 10 minutes or less. Remember: the Tamburitzans is a performing ensemble, so above all, perform your audition ‑ do not just present it. It is a plus for the auditionee to show that he or she already knows how to smile and gesture for the stage. Also, do not expect the judges to respond like an audience (i.e., applause, laughter, etc.). Much of the time, you can expect them to be looking down at their rating sheets and writing.

Any accompaniment to your audition must be pre-recorded onto either a CD or MP3 device. DO NOT BRING CD PLAYERS – one will be provided at the audition.


All auditions will be videoed for the purpose of review by the panel. Copies of these videos will not be available to applicants.

Your Audition Program

In order to better judge each audition, there is one important requirement. The auditionee must provide at least five (5) copies of an information packet which relates to their audition. This packet should include an outline of the audition (the order of the presentation and the names of the songs, dances and instrumentals to be performed), and should include copies of the written music to be sung or played. WRITE ONLY YOUR ASSIGNED NUMBER ON THE PACKET. DO NOT GIVE YOUR NAME.


Soon after the in‑house auditions are held, all applicants will receive either a request to attend the final audition or a notice of rejection. Call‑backs will be held in Pittsburgh shortly after general auditions. There is actually very little you can do in preparation for the final auditions. All finalists will be taught the same songs, dances and instrumental pieces (in relation to your experience). In this way, everyone can be compared under the same circumstances. The final audition will be very similar to the process which The Tamburitzans performers go through during their production camp. It will last an entire day and will consist of separate sessions for dance, vocal and instrumental work. If needed, additional demonstrators may be present for teaching purposes only. They are not part of the judging panel.


Shortly after call‑backs, a group of finalists will be selected for interviews with the Artistic Director; others will receive notices of exclusion. Before this step of the process takes place, all determinations for scholarships will have been made by the panel. However, more applicants may be invited to the interview phase than are actually needed. Thus, applicants under final consideration will not be offered a scholarship at this time. The interview is intended primarily to discuss in great detail the responsibilities of the applicant in the event that the scholarship is offered to them later. The interview also allows the Executive and Artistic Directors to learn more about the prospective student. At least one parent must be present at the interview. During this phase, students will be informed of the responsibilities of a Tamburitzan on and off stage, and will be asked questions concerning character and personality, as well as to determine if there are any health‑related concerns which might prevent him or her from being successful as a Tamburitzans performer.

It is only under unusual circumstances that the Artistic Director would report back to the judging panel with negative findings. In that case, a second interview would take place with all members of the panel present.


From this grouping of interviewed students, scholarship winners will be chosen, and all others will be notified that vacancies have been filled. In most situations, determinations will be made by April 15.

It should be understood that The Tamburitzans Artistic Director may reopen the final or even general audition process if:

  • a notified finalist declines the scholarship
  • additional opening(s) need to be filled before the beginning of the new season

In this situation, the remaining interviewed applicants, as well as possible new applicants will be reviewed by the panel, and determinations will be made until all vacancies are filled.

If at any time during the audition process you receive a notice of rejection, please understand that this is not necessarily an indication of a lack of talent. Realize that we are limited by the number of available scholarships and by the particular talent needs for the upcoming season. Also note that The Tamburitzans Scholarship could be offered to college sophomores, juniors and seniors as well as to incoming freshmen. Thus, we encourage those who didn’t receive a Tamburitzans Scholarship on their first attempt to try again the following year.

Thank you for your interest in The Tamburitzans, and Good Luck!