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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001155.txt from 1998/04

Subj: The right to audition
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 11:09:03 -0400

Jonathan Cohler has advanced some interesting ideas on the practice of
hiring in orchestras in the US. I can share Jonathan's frustration over the
process and the possible exclusion of talented players from the pool, but i
have to disagree with a policy that would allow ANY person to audition.

Certainly one must expect that out of a pool of 200 - 300 candidates MOST
are not qualified to fill a position in a major symphony orchestra. Talent
is not the only factor when considering a someone for a position.
Experience is a necessary component, although, there have been notable
exceptions. (John Yeh and Ricardo Morales both come to mind). Orchestral
playing is not just about the ability to play the most correct notes on an
audition. Solid, consistent and sensitive ensemble playing is an extremely
important aspect of orchestral playing and usually requires experience to
aquire. A brilliant soloist is not necessarily a good candidate for an
orchestral post. A superior orchestra such as the National Symphony has
every right to limit it's applicants to the "most highly qualified".

I have been on both ends of the audition process (far more experience
auditioning than listening to auditions) and it is clear that after 20 or
more players the committee is not at it's best. I firmly believe that the
best players are at a disadvantage when playing in such a large pool.
Certainly, the audition process is not perfect, but opening auditions to
all comers is impractical.

If we want to rail at someone about the problems of getting an orchestral
position these days let's take on the US Government that is constantly
reducing funding to the NEA. Let's take a look at reasons that orchestras
are folding all over the US. AND perhaps institutions that continually
crank out huge pools of hopeful orchestral players need to look at their
role in perpetuating the "myth" of orchestral careers when in reality there
are so few jobs.

Clark W Fobes

Clark W Fobes
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