Introductions is WFMT’s weekly showcase of the Chicago area’s finest pre-college classical musicians. The program airs every Saturday morning at 11:00.
Soloists, chamber ensembles, and large ensembles of any instrumentation are welcome to audition for Introductions. We also welcome jazz musicians, folk musicians of any world tradition, and musical theater performers as long as they fulfill our other requirements.
Introductions airs year-round and therefore applications are accepted at any time. Each application is assessed individually, and we generally schedule applicants some months prior to the performance date. As a general rule, we recommend applying one full semester prior to your intended performance date.
High school seniors should apply by February 1 of their senior year to be considered for solo recitals up to and including August of the same year. Later applications will still be considered if there is space in the schedule.
- Soloists aged 19 or younger and not yet enrolled full-time at a university, college or conservatory are eligible to appear. Students who have graduated high school are still considered pre-college up to the Labor Day following their high school graduation.
- Musicians must live and/or study pre-college within range of the WFMT transmission signal on 98.7 FM: Chicago and its suburbs including Northwest Indiana, Southeast Wisconsin, and Southwest Michigan. Musicians are eligible also if they show a strong, in-person connection to the same area. The producer’s decisions on eligibility are final.
- Bands, orchestras, choirs, and chamber ensembles are encouraged to apply if a majority of the musicians fit the above criteria.
How to Apply
- Fill out the questionnaire below.
- Include links to your performing!
- Choose two or three contrasting selections totaling at least 10 minutes. A single movement of a longer work may be considered a single selection, and you may omit repeats and make cuts to the music.
- Your audition recordings do not have to be professional quality – just do your best with the equipment you have. For self-taping tips, WFMT recommends this excellent guide from Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Recordings should have been made within the current or previous school year, and teachers or other adults may accompany soloists.
- Upload your audio or video recordings somewhere on the web (e.g. YouTube, Google Drive, or DropBox), and provide the URLs. Make sure the sharing permissions on each file allow anyone with the URL to access it.
- Any submitted recording must be a true representation of a single take. While certain audio processing is permitted – gain adjustment, EQ, compression, limiting, and reverb are all fine – edits or cuts to the recording in the middle of the music are forbidden, as is any form of pitch correction. Lastly, it should go without saying that the performers on the recording must be those named in the application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be paid to perform on WFMT? Do I have to pay?
No and no. Introductions is an educational program and therefore musicians participate on a voluntary basis. There is no application or acceptance fee. WFMT covers the cost of recording, and the cost of a collaborative pianist if necessary.
How are the participants selected?
Participants are chosen based on their musical ability in consultation with music professionals. All decisions are final.
I was not invited to perform on Introductions, or I just performed on Introductions and I would like to perform again. Can I re-apply?
Soloists and ensembles may send one audition every year, even if you’ve sent an application in the past. Because we try to feature a wide range of performers, repeated appearances on Introductions as a featured soloist are rare, but will be considered in exceptional circumstances.
If I’m accepted, what music may I perform on the show?
Anything that you perform well and that shows you in a good light. You’ll have time to craft your program in consultation with your teachers and musical mentors. All repertoire choices must be approved by the series producer.
- Soloists should plan to present between 22 and 42 minutes of music. Solo recitals may not contain exclusively works by dead, white, male composers. Exceptions to this policy will be granted only in limited circumstances (e.g. if you’re an early music specialist, or you’re from a certain folk tradition, or you plan to do the complete Hammerklavier or Goldberg Variations or something).
- Ensembles’ repertoire will be worked out on a case-by-case basis. WFMT is open to broadcasting ensembles’ own supplied recordings if the audio is of broadcast standard.
Is it live or pre-recorded?
It may be either. Sometimes episodes are true live-to-air broadcasts on a Saturday morning, and sometimes episodes are pre-recorded in advance. The producer will determine what works best in your particular case.
If you are having problems with the below form, please try clearing your browser’s cache, using a different browser, or viewing this page on a different device.
If that doesn’t solve things, please use WFMT’s Contact Us form and a producer will be in touch.