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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000875.txt from 1998/04

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: National Symphony 2nd Clarinet Job
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 06:04:56 -0400

On Thu, 16 Apr 1998, Jonathan Cohler wrote:
> 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....

Understandably you are upset that your best student (I am assuming she is
your best) did not get accepted for an audition with one of the top
orchestras in America. I hope that, even though you have shown your anger
on the list, that you urged your student to keep working hard
and show that she can eventually be accepted for an audition.

Whether a person is acceptable to the audition pool is determined, often,
by the size of the pool and the resumes already in the pool. Contrary to
what you may think, a major orchestra really does not have the funds to
audition for 24 hours on one instrument only. Most often, the group
listening to the auditionees are members of the orchestra, for which they
often get paid overtime. It may seem to you that anything less than what
you feel is justifiable to get your student in is less than what they
should be doing, but it would be better to be realistic and try to
understand their reasoning. Also, many people who win jobs do not stay in
their first one for 5-10 years. A very high percentage of them move to
another position within 3 years.

John Yeh auditioned for Chicago at a time when it was rare for a 19 year
old to be considered. His teachers undoubtedly had some impact on if the
committee chose to listen to him (it is political) - and, based on what I
have read - I would guess that you are not the political type Jonathan!
If you didn't call and schmooze a member or two of the committee that
decided, or if you don't have pull with Loren Kitt (as it appears you do
not), then your student won't be given the same chance that either Drucker
or Yeh had if their teachers DID have pull. This is not to say that you
should call and schmooze, I am just explaining how it often works. David
Shifrin always called in advance to see if his student(s) could be placed
in the finals....! I always thought that was a bit presumptious.
However, when they were not, they were at least given the opportunity to
audition like the rest of the pool. Marcellus was legendary for calling
and demanding that students be placed in the finals.......and Gigliotti
always called and politely asked to speak with the personnel manager.
But, these people called before the fact and they had vast orchestral
experience and may have even been guest soloists with the orchestras in
question. If you feel you do not have pull, you could begin getting to
know the personnel managers and conductors simply by attending the
concerts and meeting them. Send your CD's to them, and ask them to
consider your students for future jobs.

If your student is talented (and it certainly sounds like she is!), you
can help her find a job to audition for that will not only accept her into
the pool of auditionees, but that she might have a very good chance at
winning. The National Symphony is a stretch for anyone - even the most
seasoned professional - and it would do your student well to earn a
position with a good orchestra and gain excellent experience and work her
way up from there. A good base is better than jumping right into it. And
don't forget, when David Shifrin won the job with Cleveland at such a
young age, he paid for it for several years. The John Mack stories are

I am genuinly sorry that your student had to receive a form letter and
learn what the real world is like out there. But, it might help her in
the long run to have failed this time - before even getting there! She
will get determined and go for another, and you will both be better
prepared to get her in to the audition. The best thing you can do for
your student at this point is show, by way of example, the most
professional way of dealing with it.

Roger Garrett

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