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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000989.txt from 1998/04

From: Hat NYC 62 <>
Subj: Auditions
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 19:19:52 -0400

>>The biggest thing is have some experience in a professional
orchestra either subbing or full time. Jonathan have you done any
orchestra auditions? From your surprise it sounds like you haven't -
take offense. Also, winning the audition and actually playing in the
orchestra are two TOTALLY different things. Some players are great
audition takers but can't play in a section or get along with people.
players are great in the orchestra but don't have the nerves of steel
the audition process.<<

Let me just add to this that for a SECOND clarinet audition, which this is, a
different type of player is often selected than for a principal position. They
are looking for solid and flexible, not necessarily the most expressive. This
is another reason why solo competitions mean nothing. Having a soloist as a
teacher is probably not a big help getting invited to a second clarinet
audition, either.

By the way, although it is probably likely that most members of an orchestra
like the NSO have won solo competitions at some point, that does not mean that
all winners of solo competitions are qualified to be in major orchestras. Same
for Tanglewood, many great players have been there, not all players who have
been there are great!

Auditions are inherently NOT fair. They never will be. There is no way they
can be. If Jonathan Cohler and I heard the same people audition, we would
probably rank them differently, because we have different priorities when it
comes to approaching both music and the clarinet. Audition committees are the
same way, whether they are for symphony orchestras, colleges or solo
competitions. Screened auditions are probably fairer, but will not prevent a
prejudice against, say, vibrato from eliminating someone.

People have been trying to get orchestras to listen to all comers for ages,
and things have gotten better. However, as Larry Liberson said (and I can
corroborate from having heard auditions when I was in the Charleston
Symphony), at least 90% of the people who actually pay the money and show up
have no clue. Making the qualified wait 5 days in between rounds of an
audition (and pay the resulting hotel rates and lose work) so that all of the
clueless can get a fair chance is probably not the answer, and it exhausts the

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