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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001468.txt from 1998/04

From: Roger Garrett <rgarrett@-----.edu>
Subj: [klarinet] Re: The Clarinet - Artlicle on a Second Clarinet Audition (Excerpt)
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 09:37:24 -0400

It is interesting that the sometimes volatile discussion regarding the
second clarinet position for the National Symphony Orchestra is
parralleled by an artilce in the latest edition of The Clarinet entitled,
"The 1997 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Second Clarinet Audition - A
learning Experience! by Edward Palanker. I thought I would excerpt a
brief passage from it here for those of you who have not overdosed on the
discussion! The section I have excerpted is only with regard to the
process used prior to the audition and during the audition. The complete
article is several pages long and is a very helpful example of how many
auditions are run.....especially for those orchestras that are full time
but do not have the huge budgets that the top five orchestras have. Here
is the excerpt:

>From The Clarinet, Volume 25, Number 2 February-March 1998. Page70.

"We have our audition procedure spelled out in our contract, and we try to
follow it to the letter. We have an audition committee made up of nine
members of the orchestra, of which at least four must be principals. Our
committee was made up of the principal clarinet, oboe, bassoon and
trumpet, second flute, bassoon and oboe, assistant first clarinet and
bass clarinet (our principal flutist was unable to attend). We also have
the Union Steward present to assure that all union and contract
regulations are observed. Any questions regarding procedure are referred
to him, and he is in charge of counting the ballots."

"We have three rounds - the preliminaries, semifinals and finals. The
conductor is present at all but the preliminary round. He only voted in
the finals and had to have at least one other vote to have his choice win.
The first two rounds were behind a screen. In the finals the three
finalists performed by themselves and then with the principal clarinetist.
Two of them were invited to play for a week with the orchestra, at the
orchestra's expense, including being paid that week's salary. The person
offered the job received a unanimous vote and was the only person to
receive all nine votes in any of the rounds; he received nine votes in all
the rounds. The runner-up was so close that we decided we would offer him
the position if, for any reason, our first choice turned it down."

"The committee met prior to the audition to determine how we would choose
those to invite to the audition. One choice was to use tapes, which we
rejected because of the different equipment that everyone uses to record
on, and we felt that a tape does not really prove what a person can and
cannot do. Another was to invite everyone and break up into three
separate groups and hear everyone in separate rooms. That was rejected as
being totally unfair and unreasonable. I took part in an audition like
that in Atlanta once. One group played on stage, another played in the
theater complex, not the concert hall, and one group played in a large
room. Only one comittee was sending people on to the semifinals. They
seemed to have different standards. Because we only had two days
available to do the audition, we decided that we would invite 75
applicants based upon their resumes. We would rather hear everyone who
was invited play for about eight minutes than have double the numbers
playing for only four minutes each. In many cases, people who might not
have made the semifinals were moved on because they "settled down after
the first few excerpts." People needed the time to get accustomed to the
concert hall, make adjustments to their playing and settle their nerves.
We ended up with 80 applicants, chosen from about 215 applications. I
sure that we probably rejected some very fine players, but felt it was the
best way."

For those of you who are interested in reading the rest of the report, it
includes discussion on how long the players were allowed to play, if all
excerpts were heard, which excerpts were heard, what order of music was
heard (including solo rep.), a discussion regarding consistant problems
with the auditions they heard, and a complete list of repertoire asked
for. The Clarinet back issues can be recieved by contacting James
Gillespie, editor and publisher of the professional quarterly. The
electronic edition of The Clarinet for the issue I have cited above should
be arriving or have already arrived in your electronic mailbox from Stan
Geidel, and it contains information for how to order back issues of the
magazine/quarterly.

Roger Garrett
IWU

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