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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000868.txt from 1998/04

From: Jonathan Cohler <>
Subj: National Symphony 2nd Clarinet Job
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 17:50:36 -0400

I just had a very disconcerting conversation with an arrogant personnel
manager at the National Symphony by the name of David Bragunier.

One of my top students had sent in her resume and application to audition
for the 2nd clarinet job there. She was sent an impersonal form letter
telling her that based on a glance at her resume, she wasn't good enough to
come and audition!!!!

I called Mr. Bragunier to inform him that she had won prizes at least two
major international clarinet competitions (including the ICA Competition!).
I also asked why they were limiting the number of auditionees arbitrarily.
He exclaimed that they had 200 applicants, and I said "so what!"

If people can't audition for jobs, and are going to be excluded arbitrarily
based on what a paper resume says, then the system will be inherantly
unfair and biased. Furthermore, it encourages (and essentially guarantees)
that the vast majority of applicants will lie on their resumes in order to
ensure themselves an audition spot.

I am well aware that this is precisely what happens in the world of
conductors where the number of audition slots is necessarily very limited.
But I have never heard of a major orchestra limiting the audition pool so

If there are other major orchestras doing this, it is just another
unfortunate sign of the decline of classical music.

There is absolutely no reason that a major orchestra cannot afford to
listen to 200 applicants for a position in the orchestra (especially a
wind, brass or percussion position). If each auditionee gets 7 minutes,
that would be 1400 minutes or roughly 24 hours of audition time for round
one. Considering that the people who get these jobs often stay in the
orchestra for 5, 10 or more years, the orchestra should be obliged to spend
at least 24 hours looking for the best possible candidate.

To do any less is a disservice to the world of classical music and National
Symphony should be ashamed of themselves.

I left a message with Mr. Bragunier to have Loren Kitt call me back about
this subject, although Mr. Bragunier didn't seem to be in a very helpful

If Loren is on this list, or somebody knows him, I would love to hear from you.

I also wonder how others feel about this exclusionary practice of the
National Symphony Orchestra.

I also wonder how Stanley Drucker would have felt if he was told he
couldn't audition for the New York Philharmonic when he was 19, because his
resume didn't show enough experience. Or how about John Bruce Yeh when he
was 19 and auditioning for the Chicago Symphony. Or....

Jonathan Cohler

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