Each year, we offer two 9-month placements to applicants who wish to train as a community music leader. If you’re creative and passionate about music of all kinds, we’d like to hear from you!

We’re keen to hear from people who are aged 18-26 and from a background currently underrepresented in the UK’s arts work force, which includes: people from lower income backgrounds; of global majority heritage; or, who identify as disabled, D/deaf, or neurodivergent.

The placement will give you paid experience, training and mentoring from some of the sector’s leading practitioners, and you’ll build a great network along the way. No previous music leading experience is necessary, we’re looking for potential.


The BSO’s first Young Associate musicians

In 2022, Lila Bhattacherjee and Sehyogue Aulakh became the BSO’s first Young Associate musicians, each of them bringing a brilliant range of passion and experience to our community.

Across the year they had the opportunity to get involved in the full spectrum of participatory work, from the Recovery Orchestra in partnership with Bristol Drugs Project and ‘BSO On Your Doorstep’ concerts, to working with our Family Orchestra in Devon, and ‘Explore the Orchestra’ schools’ performances across the region.  They also had the opportunity to work closely with the Bournemouth centre for the National Open Youth Orchestra, the UK’s youth ensemble for disabled and non-disabled musicians.

As part of the inaugural mentoring scheme, Lila and Sehyogue attended, observed, participated and were coached on flagship BSO Participate projects — and at the end of the year, they led their own projects, which they’d designed over the year. Lila ran ‘Making Music for Mental Health’ in partnership with Off the Record and Trinity Centre Bristol, and Sehyogue ran ‘Belonging as Mixed’, a cross-arts project at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham.

BSO Young Associates, Lila and Sehyogue

BSO Young Associates, Lila and Sehyogue

Alongside events-based mentoring, they received training in trauma-informed practice, developing their own project plans, and insights into fundraising and marketing at the BSO head office. Throughout the 9-month placements, they were mentored by the Orchestra’s professional Associate musicians, who are based across the South West.

A big part of my learning came from observing more experienced practitioners, being able to observe their approach and talk to them before and after sessions to learn about their thought process… this part of it is a really massive part […] I would advise the next Young Associates to just throw yourself into everything…. it’s really great the way the scheme is in tailoring things to the individual and being open about what it is you’re interested in and want more experience in, there are so many opportunities to make the scheme your own.” Lila Bhattacherjee, former BSO Young Associate

“Challenge yourself and keep an open mind. Utilise everyone at the BSO, they’re all great and really supportive — you can learn so much so take up all the opportunities you can. Take the time to reflect and give yourself time to absorb things […] In my project we explored a lot of different north Indian classical music — I did quite a lot of research into that which was something that I had wanted to take the time to do, so it was nice to have a reason to also to implement that into some of my work!” Sehyogue Aulakh, former BSO Young Associate


How to get involved

Applications are open, with a deadline of Friday 14 July 2023, 5pm.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview/audition on Tuesday 25 or Wednesday 26 July in Poole, Dorset. This will involve an informal interview, a whole group music workshop, and a chance to meet other musicians. Travel expenses will be reimbursed if invited to attend.

If you’d like to find out more, please join our ‘Meet a Music Leader online Q&A’ on Tuesday 4 July at 4pm. Email Catherine on participate@bsorchestra.co.uk to register your place.

Click here to submit your BSO Young Associate application today


Allianz Musical Insurance (AMI) is a valued long-standing Partner of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. They take an active approach to supporting musicians and the music industry, and invests heavily into comprehensive training and development opportunities, as well as providing insurance for musicians, their instruments and equipment.

“We’ve been proud partners of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for five years, actively supporting their tireless work and unwavering dedication to challenging the barriers to high-quality music for all. In support of the music industry, Allianz Musical Insurance also invests heavily into comprehensive training and development opportunities, but we also understand that for some people working in the industry, accessing these kinds of resources can be challenging and sometimes entirely out of reach.

“The BSO Young Associates programme is a wonderful opportunity for young musicians to gain vital skills and to develop with the careful and considered guidance of the BSO. Having followed Lila and Sehyogue’s journey in the first year of the Young Associates Programme, we’re delighted to continue our support and excited to see the journeys of this year’s selected participants.” Brian Hillstead, Partnerships Manager, Allianz Musical Insurance


The BSO’s 2022/23 Young Associates project was made possible thanks to the 163 generous supporters of the BSO’s Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021.

With special thanks also to Supporting Partner Allianz Musical Insurance