MMSF Instrumental Fellowships: Woodwind, Brass & Harp Fellowships

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s Woodwind, Brass and Harp Fellowship Programme is designed to support the development of talented orchestral instrumentalists at the beginning of their career. The programme has been designed not only to support their musical development, but also to provide them with an awareness of how an orchestra runs and their role within it. 

Previous MMSF award winner Alison Balsom © Matt Hennek and EMI Classics

Previous MMSF award winner Alison Balsom


Applications for Woodwind, Brass and Harp Fellowships are now closed, as of Friday 1 February 2019 at 5pm. Applications for the 2020/21 scheme will open in November 2019. 

For more information please email

There are a maximum of four Woodwind and Brass Fellowships available in total, and a maximum of two Harp Fellowships. A list of current recipients can be found here

The content of the annual Programme will be tailored to meet the individual needs and development rates of the artists, but will include:



Each recipient will receive a grant towards their studies and in acknowledgement of any travel costs associated with participating in this programme.



In addition to the Philharmonia’s Director of Education, each recipient will be paired with a Philharmonia player to offer them structured feedback, advice and guidance throughout their Fellowship, ensuring that they are welcomed to the Orchestra and receive a constructive and positive assessment of their performance and progress.



During the course of the one year programme, recipients will have access to a range of masterclasses and seminars on relevant topics related to working in the orchestral sector, including:

  • Orchestral repertoire coaching and preparing extracts
  • Orchestral etiquette advice
  • Careers advice
  • Mock auditions and feedback afterwards
  • Coaching prior to auditions



Each recipient will be offered a defined number of dates with the Orchestra for which they are paid. This is for both rehearsals and concerts.



Each recipient will be offered the opportunity to sit-in on carefully selected rehearsals with our Principal Harpist. 



As part of their Fellowship, the recipients will be offered paid project work with the Education department, providing them with invaluable training within learning and participation settings – an increasingly important skill for the 21st century orchestral musician.



During the course of their Fellowship, recipients are able to take advantage of performance opportunities. As well as appearances at Development and Philharmonia Friends events, there is an end of year Showcase Concert at the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, if Fellows wish they can apply for further recital performance platforms (solo or as small chamber groups) in pre- or post-concert slots at our major residencies, including De Montfort Hall in Leicester, Three Choirs Festival and the Bedford Corn Exchange, incorporating the experience of putting together a proposal and programming ideas, along with a marketing plan and social media approach.



Successful recipients are asked to contribute to and sign a bespoke learning agreement to outline their commitment to the Fellowship Programme. The musicians are expected to participate in an evaluation process, to include completion of a brief progress report form at 6 months in order that the Philharmonia can ensure the Fellow is receiving the best experience possible. 


We want to invest in talented instrumentalists who are pursuing an orchestral career. In order to be eligible for the Philharmonia MMSF Fellowship Programme, you must be able to demonstrate in your application an interest in an orchestral career, and some experience of working in an orchestral setting.

We want to support artists who have the potential to build a sustainable professional career and you will be asked to describe how the Philharmonia MMSF Fellowship Programme would make a significant difference to you at this particular point in your career. You should consider the impact the Fellowship would make to both your creative development and long term career aims. Please note we are not able to support applications from orchestral saxophonists at this time. 

The Philharmonia MMSF Woodwind, Brass and Harp Fellowship Programme is an annual scheme. Each round is likely to be highly competitive. The panel will review all submitted information and will be asked to consider:

  • Your artistic achievements to date and the impact you are currently making in your studies and work
  • The impact a Fellowship would have for you as a prospective orchestral musician

If you have previously received an MMSF award, you are able to apply for the Philharmonia MMSF Fellowship Programme.



Applicants must be over the age of 18 and in full or part-time education, or no more than 18 months out of full or part-time education. You will need to be able to demonstrate this clearly on your application form.

As a guide, the programme has been developed with fourth year undergraduate and postgraduate students in mind. We will accept applications from young undergraduates but ALL applicants must be over 18 years old.



The Philharmonia MMSF Fellowship Programme is open to applicants of all nationalities. However, if you are from overseas, you will need to demonstrate that you are still in education and will be for the duration of the Fellowship with a valid visa (if applicable).



Two references must be written specifically for this application, including one from your current teacher. They should ideally contain the following information:

  • How the referee knows the applicant
  • In what context they have got to know them
  • Why the applicant will benefit from being given a place on the Fellowship Programme
  • The applicant’s qualifications for the Programme
  • How the Programme will benefit the applicant’s future development

Two references must have been received by the deadline; otherwise the application will be rejected. The applicants are themselves responsible for ensuring that their application is complete. They should contact their referees in plenty of time to ensure that they are happy to provide a recommendation and are able to do so by the deadline.



Through this scheme we are unable to consider applications for:

  • Formal courses of study, training or research (including postgraduate degrees)
  • Lessons with your regular teacher
  • Costs associated with participating in competitions or showcases
  • One off performances, touring or recording costs
  • Instrument or equipment purchase
  • Any costs incurred prior to a grant being offered


Please note, applications for the 2019/20 programme are now closed, as of Friday 1 February 2019 at 5pm. Applications for the 2020/21 scheme will open in November 2019. 

You must provide two references as part of your application, one of which should be from your current teacher or head of institution. These may be uploaded on the online application system or sent directly to, but must meet the same deadline as the application and be clearly identifiable as your references. 

Please note, the Philharmonia will not accept any alternative applications such as CVs or recordings.

If you are selected for audition, you will be asked to pay a registration fee of £20.


Auditions are a maximum of 15 minutes. Candidates will need to prepare the following for the Philharmonia MMSF Fellowship audition:

- Selected audition piece (this will be clarified if you are invited to audition)

- Prepared orchestral excerpts – you will be notified about what the extracts are upon receiving confirmation of an audition slot.

- Sight reading.

An accompanist will be provided – please do not bring your own.



Auditions are a maximum of 15 minutes. Candidates will need to prepare the following for the Philharmonia MMSF Fellowship audition:

- Solo piece of performer’s choice (4 min maximum)

- Prepared orchestral excerpts – you will be notified about what the extracts are upon receiving confirmation of an audition slot.