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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001296.txt from 1998/04

From: Hard Reed <>
Subj: Re: Auditions
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 07:11:12 -0400

Once again, Craig wrote:

>Hard Reed wrote:

>> Sorry, Craig -- it may be gross, but, if anything, it's an understatement.
>> Preparation and schooling and what one feel they deserves has absolutely
>> nothing at all to do with talent and competence, does it. I'm a pretty
>> skier, too, but did you see me flying down the mountain in Nagano?
>> "I just find it surprising that a major symphony cannot attract 200-300
>> clarinetists."

>First, I omitted the word qualified from this so it should read "....200-300
>qualified clarinetists..."

>> Well...we have no problem attracting them!
>> Most people are unqualified for very simple reasons: they don't come close
>> meeting the basic standards of playing in an ensemble. If you can't play
>> rhythm or play in tune, it really doesn't matter how fast you can wiggle
>> fingers, does it?

>You are telling me that people show up at a symphony audition unable to play
>tune or in rhythm. I find this hard to believe. They may not all be
>but I think they are well beyond the beginning stages of playing.
>- -----------------------------------------------------
>Craig Countryman
>Present Project: Weber's Concertino, Op.26
>- -----------------------------------------------------

Believe it, Craig. Just because one is "well beyond the beginning stages of
playing" doesn't mean that they all have the necessary skills to sit in a
professional orchestra.

Having listened to literally hundreds of auditions over the last 22 years, I
can confidently state that very few of those showing up for an audition have
the basic fundamental skills necessary to be a competent musician of any sort
-- not just to sit in an orchestra.

Let me use a story (which may have taken on the status of a fable after all
these years!) to illustrate what I am saying:

When the Chicago Symphony Orchestra held auditions in the early 70s for
assistant principal/E-flat clarinet, they had upwards of 300 auditionees.
Only five of that original pool were placed in the finals. When Clark Brody
(formerly the long-time principal of the CSO) was asked how they narrowed down
such a large field, he is alleged to have stated:

"Easy -- they're the only ones who played in rhytym."

Larry Liberson

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