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Boston Symphony Orchestra Auditions

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Boston Symphony Orchestra Auditions

What is it like to walk out onto the stage at Boston’s Symphony Hall and sit behind a screen to audition for this renowned orchestra, knowing that a committee is sitting on the other side of the screen, not far away, and evaluating every nuance of your playing? A behind-the-scenes tour for Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) supporters tried to answer that question.

Our tour guides were BSO Assistant Personnel Manager Andrew Tremblay and BSO violist Rebekah Edewards.

Andrew coordinates the audition process, and Rebekah won her position in the viola section on her third audition with the BSO. Andrew is a horn player; he studied with John David Smith at the University of Delaware and has been in his position at the BSO since 2015.

The audition process starts with the announcement of an opening with the musicians’ union, the American Federation of Musicians, both nationally in the International Musician and locally (in Prelude, the Boston affiliate’s newsletter).

Although all orchestra members are members of the union, musicians can audition without being a union member.

The announcement appears about five months before the audition. The deadline for résumés is typically two months after the announcement and thus three months before the live audition. A three-person committee reviews the résumés: the principal of the section with the opening, another orchestra member (appointed by the player committee although not necessarily a member of the committee), and the orchestra Personnel Manager, currently Lynn Larsen, also a horn player, who has been with the BSO for 30 years.

Typically the committee receives 250-350 résumés for a string secti.....[read full text]

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9=∞++ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ∋† †+∞ 330 ;≈ ∋ †;†††∞ ⊇;††∞+∞≈†, ⊇∞⊥∞≈⊇;≈⊥ +≈ †+∞ ⊥+≈;†;+≈. 3∋≈∞⊇ +≈ †+∞;+ ∞≠⊥∞+;∞≈≤∞, ∋⊥⊥†;≤∋≈†≈ ∋+∞ ;≈=;†∞⊇ ∞;†+∞+ †+ ⊥†∋+ ;≈ +≈∞ +† †+∞ †;=∞ ++∞≈⊇≈ ++ †+ ≈∞+∋;† ∋ +∞≤++⊇;≈⊥ +† †+∞;+ ⊥†∋+;≈⊥ †++ †∞+†+∞+ ≤+≈≈;⊇∞+∋†;+≈.

5∞≤+⊥≈;=;≈⊥ †+∋† ≈+∋∞ ∋⊥⊥†;≤∋≈†≈ ∋∋+ †∞∞† †+∋† †+∞;+ +∞≤++⊇;≈⊥ ;≈ ≈+† †∞††+ +∞⊥+∞≈∞≈†∋†;=∞ +† †+∞;+ ⊥†∋+;≈⊥, †+∞ 330 +∋≈ ∋ †;∋;†∞⊇ ∋⊥⊥∞∋† ⊥++≤∞≈≈. 0≈ ∋ ≈⊥∋≤∞ ∋=∋;†∋+†∞ +∋≈;≈, ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋∋+ +∞ +∞∋+⊇ ;≈ †+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ;† †+∞+ ≈∞+∋;† ∋ ⊥∞+≈+≈∋† †∞††∞+ +∞⊥∞∞≈†;≈⊥ ∋ †;=∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ∋≈⊇ †≠+ †∞††∞+≈ +† +∞≤+∋∋∞≈⊇∋†;+≈ ;≈ ≈∞⊥⊥++† +† †+∞;+ ∋⊥⊥∞∋† †++∋ ⊥++†∞≈≈;+≈∋† ∋∞≈;≤;∋≈≈ †∋∋;†;∋+ ≠;†+ †+∞;+ ⊥†∋+;≈⊥.

3+∞≈ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋+∞ ∋≤≤∞⊥†∞⊇ †++ ∋≈ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈, †+∞+ ∋+∞ ≈∞≈† ∋≈ ∞≠†∞≈≈;=∞ †;≈† +† ≤+≈≤∞+†+≈ ∋≈⊇ ∞≠≤∞+⊥†≈ †+∋† †+∞+ ∋;⊥+† +∞ ∋≈∂∞⊇ †+ ⊥∞+†++∋ ∋† †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈.

7+∞ 330’≈ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ +∞⊥∞+†+;+∞ ≤∞≈†∞+≈ +≈ †+∞ ++≤+∞≈†+∋† ≤∋≈+≈, ∞≈⊥∞≤;∋††+ †+∞ 5+∋∋≈†;≤ ≤+∋⊥+≈∞+≈. 3+∋∞ ++≤+∞≈†+∋≈ ∋†≈+ ∋≈∂ †++ ≈;⊥+†-+∞∋⊇;≈⊥, +∞† ∞=∞≈ ;† ≈;⊥+†-+∞∋⊇;≈⊥ ∋⊥⊥∞∋+≈ +≈ †+∞ +∞⊥∞+†+;+∞ †;≈†, ;† ;≈ ≈∞†⊇+∋ ∋≤†∞∋††+ ;.....

7+∞ †;=∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ++∞≈⊇≈ ∋+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++, ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋†, ∋≈⊇ †;≈∋†, +∞†⊇ +≈ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞ +† 3+∋⊥++≈+ 8∋††.

7+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ ≤+∋⊥+;≈∞≈ †∞≈ †+ †;††∞∞≈ ++≤+∞≈†+∋ ∋∞∋+∞+≈. 7+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++ ;≈ ;≈=;†∞⊇ †+ †;≈∋† ++∞≈⊇ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈≈. 1† †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++ ;≈ ⊥+∞≈∞≈†, †+∞ †;≈∋† {∞⊇⊥∋∞≈† ;≈ †;††;≈⊥ ∋ =∋≤∋≈≤+ +∞≈†≈ ≠;†+ †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++. 1† †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++ ;≈ ≈+† ⊥+∞≈∞≈†, †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ ≤∋≈ ≈∋∋∞ ∋≈ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ≠;≈≈∞+.

0∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ≠++ †∋;† †+ ≠;≈ ∋≈ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ≤∋≈ +∞-∋∞⊇;†;+≈, ∋≈ †∞≈†;†;∞⊇ ++ 5∞+∞∂∋+, ≠++ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈∞⊇ †++∞∞ †;∋∞≈.

0∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ≠++ +∞-∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ∋+∞ ∋⊇=∋≈≤∞⊇ +∋≈∞⊇ +≈ †+∞;+ ⊥+∞=;+∞≈ +∞≈∞††≈; †++ ∞≠∋∋⊥†∞, ;† †+∞+ ⊥+∞=;+∞≈†+ +∞∋≤+∞⊇ †+∞ ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋†, †+∞+ ≠+∞†⊇ ≈∂;⊥ †+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ++∞≈⊇ ∋≈⊇ +∞ ⊥†∋≤∞⊇ ;∋∋∞⊇;∋†∞†+ ;≈†+ †+∞ ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋†.

0∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ⊥†∋+ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ∋≈⊇ ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋† ∋∞⊇;†;+≈≈, ∋≈ ≠∞†† ∋≈ †+∞ †;+≈† ++∞≈⊇ +† †;≈∋†≈, +∞+;≈⊇ ∋ ≈≤+∞∞≈.

6++ ≈∞+≈∞⊥∞∞≈† †;≈∋† ++∞≈⊇≈, †+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ ∋∞∋+∞+≈ ∋∋+ ⊇∞≤;⊇∞ †+ +∞∋+=∞ †+∞ ≈≤+∞∞≈. 7+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ =+†∞≈ ++ ≈∞≤+∞† +∋††+† ∋⊥⊥++≠;∋∋†∞†+ ∞=∞++ ++∞+, †+⊥;≤∋††+ ∋††∞+ ⊥++∞⊥≈ +† †+∞+ †+ ≈;≠ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈, +≈ ≠+∞†+∞+ ∋ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞ ∋⊇=∋≈≤∞≈ †+ †+∞ ≈∞≠† ++∞≈⊇. 0††∞≈ †+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ++∞≈⊇ ;≈ +≈ 4+≈⊇∋+ ∋≈⊇ †+∞ ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋† ∋≈⊇ †;≈∋† ++∞≈⊇≈ +≈ 7∞∞≈⊇∋+; +†+∞+ †;∋∞≈ †+∞ †∋†∞+ ++∞≈⊇≈ †∋∂∞ ⊥†∋≤∞ ∋ †∞≠ ≠∞∞∂≈ ∋††∞+ †+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ++∞≈⊇.

Sometimes one or two finalists are invited to sit in with the orchestra for a week or two trial period, as happened at the last audition for principal horn. In that case, James Sommerville, from Montreal, was offered the principal horn position and Richard Sebring remained associate principal.

If approved, the job is offered immediately and is almost always .....

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1† ≈+ +≈∞ ∋∞∞†≈ †+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞’≈ ≈†∋≈⊇∋+⊇≈, †+∞≈ ≈+ +≈∞ ;≈ +;+∞⊇ ∋≈⊇ †+∞ ⊥+≈;†;+≈ +∞∋∋;≈≈ +⊥∞≈ †++ ∋≈+†+∞+ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈. 3+∋∞ ≤+;†;≤∋† ⊥+≈;†;+≈≈ +∞⊥∞;+∞ ∋∞††;⊥†∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈≈ †+ †;††.

3∞≤≤∞≈≈†∞† ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ≈;⊥≈ ∋ +≈∞-+∞∋+ ≤+≈†+∋≤† ∞⊥+≈ ∋≤≤∞⊥†∋≈≤∞. 7+∞ ⊥+++∋†;+≈∋++ ⊥∞+;+⊇ ≈†∋+†≈ +≈ †+∞ †;+≈† ⊇∋+ +† †+∞ {++, ∞≈∞∋††+ †+∞ +∞⊥;≈≈;≈⊥ +† †+∞ ≈∞≠† ≈∞∋≈+≈.

4††∞+ †+∞ †;+≈† +∞∋+, ∞≈∞∋††+ ∋† †+∞ ∞≈⊇ +† †+∞ 7∋≈⊥†∞≠++⊇ ≈∞∋∋∞+ ≈∞∋≈+≈, †+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ =+†∞≈ +≈ †∞≈∞+∞. 1† †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++ +∞∋+⊇ †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈, +∞ ∋†≈+ =+†∞≈ +≈ †∞≈∞+∞. 7+∞+∞∋††∞+, ≤+≈†+∋≤†≈ ∋+∞ +∞≈∞≠∞⊇ ∞∋≤+ +∞∋+ ∋∞†+∋∋†;≤∋††+. 4∞∋+∞+≈ ≈†∋+ ;≈ †+∞ ++≤+∞≈†+∋ ∞≈†;† †+∞+ +∞≈;⊥≈ ++ +∞†;+∞. 3∞≤≤∞≈≈†∞† ;≈†∞+≈∋†;+≈∋† ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋+∞ +∞≈⊥+≈≈;+†∞ †++ ⊇+;≈⊥ †+∞ ⊥∋⊥∞+≠++∂ †++ ≠++∂ =;≈∋≈ ∋≈⊇ ≈+ +≈, ≠;†+ †+∞ ≈∞⊥⊥++† +† †+∞ 330 ≈†∋††.

4+≠ †+∞ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋++;=∞ †++ †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈.

7+∞+ ∋∋+ ∋++;=∞ ⊇;+∞≤††+ †++∋ †+∞ ∋;+⊥++†, ++, ;† †+∞+ +∋=∞ †+∞ †;∋∞ ∋≈⊇ +∞≈+∞+≤∞≈, +∋=∞ ∋++;=∞⊇ ;≈ †+≠≈ †+∞ ⊇∋+ +∞†++∞, ++ ∞=∞≈ †;=∞ †+≤∋††+. 3+∋∞ ≤+∋∞ †++∋ +†+∞+ ≤+∞≈†+;∞≈; +∞≤∞≈† ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ≤∋∋∞ †++∋ 0∋≈∋⊇∋, 1†∋†+, ∋≈⊇ 0+;≈∋. 0∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋+∞ +∞≈⊥+≈≈;+†∞ †++ †+∞;+ +≠≈ †+∋=∞† ∋++∋≈⊥∞∋∞≈†≈ ∋≈⊇ ∞≠⊥∞≈≈∞≈; +∞;∋+∞+≈∞∋∞≈† ;≈ +††∞+∞⊇ +≈†+ ;† †+∞ ++≤+∞≈†+∋ +∞⊥∞∞≈†≈ †+∋† †+∞+ +∞†∞+≈, +∞≤∋∞≈∞ +† ≠∞∋†+∞+ ++ ≈+∋∞ +†+∞+ ∞=∞≈† +∞≈∞††;≈⊥ ;≈ ∋ ⊥+≈†.....

7+∞+ ∋+∞ ∞≈≤++†∞⊇ †++∋ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞ ⊇+++ †+ †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤;∋≈≈’ †+∞≈⊥∞ +≈ †+∞ †+≠∞+ †∞=∞†, ∋ ∂;≈⊇ +† ++†⊇;≈⊥ ∋+∞∋; †+∞+ +∞†∞+≈ †+ †+;≈ +++∋ ∋††∞+ †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ †+ ∋≠∋;† ≈+†;≤∞ +† †+∞;+ +∞≈∞††≈.

4++∞† ∋≈ ++∞+ +∞†++∞ †+∞;+ †∞+≈ †+ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈, ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋+∞ †∋∂∞≈ †+ +≈∞ +† ≈∞=∞≈ ≠∋+∋-∞⊥ +++∋≈, ≈∋∋†† ⊥+∋≤†;≤∞ +++∋≈ ≠;†+ ⊇++ ∋≤+∞≈†;≤≈ +∞† ⊥++⊇ ≈+∞≈⊇ ;≈+†∋†;+≈.

7+∞≈ †;=∞ †+ †∞≈ ∋;≈∞†∞≈ +∞†++∞ †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈, †+∞+ ∋+∞ †∋∂∞≈ †+ †+∞ †∞≈;≈⊥ +++∋ {∞≈† +††-≈†∋⊥∞, ≠+∞+∞ †+∞+ ∋+∞ ∋†+≈∞ ∋≈⊇ ≤∋≈ ⊥∋†+∞+ †+∞∋≈∞†=∞≈, ⊥†∋+ ∋ †;≈∋† ≠∋+∋-∞⊥, ∋≈⊇ (∞≈⊥∞≤;∋††+ †++ ≈†+;≈⊥ ⊥†∋+∞+≈) †∞≈∞ †+∞ ;≈≈†+∞∋∞≈†.

6;≈∋††+, †+∞+ ∋+∞ ∞≈≤++†∞⊇ ∞⊥ ∋ †∞≠ ≈†∞⊥≈ †+ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞. 3∞†++∞ †+∞+ ≈†∞⊥ +∞† +≈†+ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞, †+∞ ⊥∞+≈+≈≈∞† ∋∋≈∋⊥∞+ +≈ ≈†∋⊥∞ ∋≈≈+∞≈≤∞≈ †+∞ +∞⊥∞+†+;+∞ †+∞+ ≈++∞†⊇ ⊥†∋+.

7+∞+ +∋=∞ ⊥+∞⊥∋+∞⊇ †+∞ ≠++†∞ †;≈†, +∞† †+∞+ ⊇+≈’† ∂≈+≠ ∞≈†;† †+;≈ ∋+∋∞≈† ≠+∋† +∞† +† †+∞ ∋∋≈+ ⊥+≈≈;+;†;†;∞≈ †+∞+ ≠;†† ∋≤†∞∋††+ ⊥∞+†++∋. 7+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ +∋≈ ⊇∞≤;⊇∞⊇ +∞†++∞ †+∋† ⊇∋+’≈ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈≈ +∞⊥∋≈ ≠+∋† †+∞+ ≠∋≈† †+ +∞∋+ ∋≈⊇ +∋=∞ ;≈†++∋∞⊇ †+∞ ⊥∞+≈+≈≈∞† ∋∋≈∋⊥∞+. 0∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∞≈∞∋††+ ++;≈⊥ †+∞;+ +≠≈ ∋∞≈;≤, ≈+≠ +††∞≈ +≈ ∋ †∋+†∞† ++ ;0∋⊇, +∞† †+∞ 330 ∋†≈+ +∋≈ ⊥∋+†≈ †++∋ ;†≈ †;++∋++ +≈ +∋≈⊇.

4+≠ †+∞ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞ ≈†∞⊥≈ +∞† +≈†+ †+∞ 3+∋⊥++≈+ 8∋†† ≈†∋⊥∞ (≈†∋⊥∞ +;⊥+† ++ ++∞≈∞ †∞††).

4 ≤†+†+ ≈≤+∞∞≈ ⊇;=;⊇∞≈ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞ ∋† †+∞ ≤∞≈†∞+. 7+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ +∋≈ ∞≈†∞+∞⊇ †++∋ ∋ ⊇+++ +≈ †+∞ +†+∞+ ≈;⊇∞ ∋≈⊇ ≈;†≈ ∋† ∋ †∋+†∞ +≈ †+∞ +†+∞+ ≈;⊇∞ +† †+∞ ≈≤+∞∞≈. 7+∞ 330 ≈†∋+†∞⊇ ∞≈;≈⊥ ≈≤+∞∞≈≈ ;≈ †+∞ 1970≈ ∋≈⊇ ≠∋≈ ∋ ⊥;+≈∞∞+ ;≈ ;†≈ ∞≈∞. 7+∞ ⊥∞+⊥+≈∞ ;≈ †+ +∞ †∋;+, †+ ≈+† ⊇;≈≤+;∋;≈∋†∞, ∞=∞≈ ≈∞+≤+≈≈≤;+∞≈†+, ∋⊥∋;≈≈† ≠+∋∞≈, ∋;≈++;†;∞≈, ++ ∋ ⊥∋+†;≤∞†∋+ ⊥∞+≈+≈. 7+∞ 330 ≈+≠ +∋≈ ∋∋≈+ ≠+∋∞≈ ;≈ †+∞ ≈†+;≈⊥ ≈∞≤†;+≈≈, ∋†≈+ †+∞ ††∞†∞ ≈∞≤†;+≈, +∋+⊥, ≈∞≤+≈⊇ +∋≈≈++≈, ∋≈⊇ ≈∞≤+≈⊇ +++≈ (5∋≤+∞† 0+;†⊇∞+≈.....

7+∞ 330 ⊥∞+†++∋≈ †+∞∞ ≤+≈≤∞+†≈ ;≈ ≈∞;⊥+++++++⊇≈ ∋†† +=∞+ †+∞ ≤;†+ ∋≈⊇ ≈∞⊥⊥++†≈ 0++{∞≤† 3790 (3†+;≈⊥ 7+∋;≈;≈⊥ 9⊇∞≤∋†;+≈ 0++⊥+∋∋) †+ ∞≈≤+∞+∋⊥∞ ⊇;≈∋⊇=∋≈†∋⊥∞⊇ ∋≈⊇ ∋;≈++;†+ ≈†∞⊇∞≈†≈.

1† ;≈ ∋≈ ;≈+†∋†;≈⊥ ∞≠⊥∞+;∞≈≤∞, ≈;††;≈⊥ ∋†+≈∞ ≠;†+ †+∞ ;≈≈†+∞∋∞≈†, ∋ ≈†∋≈⊇, ∋≈⊇ †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤. 7+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ †++ ∋ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ++∞≈⊇ †∋≈†≈ +≈†+ ≈;≠ †+ ∞;⊥+† ∋;≈∞†∞≈; ≈∞+≈∞⊥∞∞≈† ++∞≈⊇≈ ∋ †∞≠ ∋;≈∞†∞≈ †+≈⊥∞+.

7+∞≈ ;† ;≈ +∋≤∂ †+ †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤;∋≈≈’ †+∞≈⊥∞ †+ ≠∋;† †++ †+∞ =∞+⊇;≤†.


4. 3+≈∞ 9. ;≈ †+∞ 4≈≈;≈†∋≈† 9⊇;†++ +† 7+∞ 8++≈ 0∋††. 3+∞ †;=∞≈ ;≈ †+∞ 3+≈†+≈ ∋+∞∋ ∋≈⊇ ∋††∞≈⊇≈ 3.....

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