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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001326.txt from 1998/03

From: Neil Leupold <>
Subj: Re: Clarinets and Auditions
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 17:40:39 -0500

On Sat, 28 Mar 1998, Mark Charette wrote:

> I'm just wondering if being _that_ prepared for auditions
> (having basically all the proper clarinets available and being
> able to play on any of them) would be considered pretentious.

Absolutely not, but an audition committee might still be a
little surprised to see a student walk in with a C or D clarinet.
Contrary to the level of purism and scholarly heights on this
list, colleges which are auditioning freshman applicants are
not particularly interested in whether the prospective student
owns one of the less common clarinets. Most colleges and con-
servatories expect freshman applicants to own two instruments
-- an A, and a Bb soprano (although some are requiring additional
expertise on either the eefer or bass clarinet). With this ex-
pectation in mind comes the assumption that the applicant will
transpose C clarinet parts on their A or Bb clarinet, and D clarinet
parts on their Eb if they are auditioning on that instrument as well.
If the student's auxiliary instrument is bass clarinet, the audition
committee expects that student to be fluent in bass cleff and be able
to sight-transpose from A to Bb. If a student walked in with two bass
clarinets -- one in A, and one in Bb -- the committee's surprise might
turn to astonishment, and they might additionally wonder if the student
is capable of A-transposition from a Bb instrument.

Thus, my recommendation is that you not worry about obtaining a C
or D clarinet, and look at the current orchestral situation in America.
While a movement is on the rise in several orchestras to obtain authentic
instruments in the proper keys, the status quo is to transpose as
necessary from the common clarinets when encountering parts written
for uncommonly keyed instruments. An audition committee is interested
in seeing if your son has the potential to function in a performance
situation where transposition is a vital and common skill. If your
son shows up with these peripheral clarinets, the audition committee
might allow him to play Till Eulenspiegel or Molter's clarinet concerto
on a D clarinet, but they might then immediately request that he perform
the excerpts a second time -- on his eefer -- to ensure that he is capable
of the transposition. Same goes for C clarinet parts played on a C clar-
inet instead of A or Bb. Same goes for Mahler bass clarinet parts played
on an A bass clarinet instead of Bb. The philosophy: first show us the
breadth of your talent and adaptability. Then we'll let you bypass the
extra effort by obtaining the originally keyed instruments if you desire
(and can afford it).

By the way, congratulations to your son on his acceptance to
Tanglewood. Something tells me his tranposition skills are
already substantial enough to pass muster in a college audition
situation. Compel him to concentrate on technical fluency and
musicality, and worry about the bells & whistles later.


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