The Arlington Symphony approaches its first concert of the 1987-88 season with a substantially increased budget, a new executive director and auditions for many principal seats.

Since last year, financial support for the music group has grown from about $50,000 to around $170,000 for this season.

Music director David S. Pollitt said, "We've only scratched the surface."

The Arlington Symphony held open auditions for several principal positions during the summer.

The decision to hold auditions met with objection from some members who feared that some players would be forced out, but Pollitt assured the musicians that no one would have to leave.

The auditions were designed to raise the level of play and leadership from principal players.

More important, "it's going to bring a pride to the orchestra," said Pollitt.

Pollitt and the musicians will be able to concentrate more on artistic considerations this season with the addition of executive director Anne Robinson, former manager of the Tallahassee Symphony.

While the programs selected for this season are generally drawn from the standard repertoire, most of the selections are new to the Arlington Symphony.

All concerts will be held at 3 p.m. on Sundays in the Kenmore Auditorium.

The first concert, Oct. 18, will include Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake Suite" and Stravinsky's "Petrouchka."

Music of Italy will be the theme of the Nov. 8 concert, with Respighi's "Pines of Rome" and Berlioz's "Harold in Italy."

Waltzes will be featured on Dec. 20, when the orchestra plays "Rosenkavalier Waltzes" and "Vienna Blood" as well as Ravel's "La Valse."

Beethoven's 5th Symphony will be on the program Feb. 7, and pianist Gyorgy Sandar, a colleague of Bela Bartok, will play Brahms' 1st Piano Concerto March 13.

Prokofiev's "Scythian Suite" is scheduled for April 17, and choral music will conclude the regular season concerts on May 23.