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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 section position, for example.

Every audition at the BSO is a little different, depending on the position. Based on their experience, applicants are invited either to play in one of the live rounds or to submit a recording of their playing for further consideration. Recognizing that some applicants may feel that their recording is not fully representative of their playing, the BSO has a limited appeal process.

On a space available basis, candidates may be heard in the preliminary audition if they submit a personal letter requesting a live audition and two letters of recommendation in support of their appeal from professional musicians fami.....[read full text]

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

7+∞ †;=∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ++∞≈⊇≈ ∋+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++, ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋†, ∋≈⊇ †;≈∋†, +∞†⊇ +≈ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞ +† 3+∋⊥++≈+ 8∋††. 7+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ ≤+∋⊥+;≈∞≈ †∞≈ †+ †;††∞∞≈ ++≤+∞≈†+∋ ∋∞∋+∞+≈. 7+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++ ;≈ ;≈=;†∞⊇ †+ †;≈∋† ++∞≈⊇ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈≈. 1† †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++ ;≈ ⊥+∞≈∞≈†, †+∞ †;≈∋† {∞⊇⊥∋∞≈† ;≈ †;††;≈⊥ ∋ =∋≤∋≈≤+ +∞≈†≈ ≠;†+ †+∞ ∋∞≈;≤ ⊇;+∞≤†++.

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

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

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

0††∞≈ †+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ++∞≈⊇ ;≈ +≈ 4+≈⊇∋+ ∋≈⊇ †+∞ ≈∞∋;-†;≈∋† ∋≈⊇ †;≈∋† ++∞≈⊇≈ +≈ 7∞∞≈⊇∋+; +†+∞+ †;∋∞≈ †+∞ †∋†∞+ ++∞≈⊇≈ †∋∂∞ ⊥†∋≤∞ ∋ †∞≠ ≠∞∞∂≈ ∋††∞+ †+∞ ⊥+∞†;∋;≈∋++ ++∞≈⊇. 3+∋∞†;∋∞≈ +≈∞ ++ †≠+ †;≈∋†;≈†≈ ∋+∞ ;≈=;†∞⊇ †+ ≈;† ;≈ ≠;†+ †+∞ ++≤+∞≈†+∋ †++ ∋ ≠∞∞∂ ++ †≠+ †+;∋† ⊥∞+;+⊇, ∋≈ +∋⊥⊥∞≈∞⊇ ∋† †+∞ †∋≈† ∋∞⊇;†;.....

1≈ †+∋† ≤∋≈∞, 1∋∋∞≈ 3+∋∋∞+=;††∞, †++∋ 4+≈†+∞∋†, ≠∋≈ +††∞+∞⊇ †+∞ ⊥+;≈≤;⊥∋† +++≈ ⊥+≈;†;+≈ ∋≈⊇ 5;≤+∋+⊇ 3∞++;≈⊥ +∞∋∋;≈∞⊇ ∋≈≈+≤;∋†∞ ⊥+;≈≤;⊥∋†.

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

3∞≤≤∞≈≈†∞† ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ≈;⊥≈ ∋ +≈∞-+∞∋+ ≤+≈†+∋≤† ∞⊥+≈ ∋≤≤∞⊥†∋≈≤∞. 7+∞ ⊥+++∋†;+≈∋++ ⊥∞+;+⊇ ≈†∋+†≈ +≈ †+∞ †;+≈† ⊇∋+ +† †+∞ {++, ∞≈∞∋††+ †+∞ +∞⊥;≈≈;≈⊥ +† †+∞ ≈∞≠† ≈∞∋≈+≈. 4††∞+ †+∞ †;+≈† +∞∋+, ∞≈∞∋††+ ∋† †+∞ ∞≈⊇ +† †+∞ 7∋≈⊥†∞≠++⊇ ≈∞∋∋∞+ ≈∞∋≈+≈, †+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ =+†∞≈ +≈ †∞≈∞+∞.

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

4+≠ †+∞ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ∋++;=∞ †++ †+∞ ∋∞⊇;†;+≈. 7+∞+ ∋∋+ ∋++;=∞ ⊇;+∞≤††+ †++∋ †+∞ ∋;+⊥++†, ++, ;† †+∞+ +∋=∞ †+∞ †;∋∞ ∋≈⊇ +∞≈+∞+≤∞≈, +∋=∞ ∋++;=∞⊇ ;≈ †+≠≈ †+∞ ⊇∋+ +∞†++∞, ++ ∞=∞≈ †;=∞ †+≤∋††+. 3+∋∞ ≤+∋∞ †++∋ +†+∞+ ≤+∞≈†+;∞≈; +∞≤∞≈† ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞≈ ≤∋∋∞ †++∋ 0∋≈∋⊇∋, 1†∋†+, ∋≈⊇ 0+;≈∋.

Candidates are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses; reimbursement is offered only if the orchestra requests that they return, because of weather or some other event resulting in a postponement, for example. They are escorted from the stage door to the musicians’ lounge on the lower level, a kind of holding area; they return to this room after the audition to await notice of their results.

About an hour before their turn to audition, candidates are taken to one of seven warm-up rooms, small practice rooms with dry acoustics but good sound isolation. Then five to ten minutes before the audition, they are taken to the tuning room just off-stage, where they are alone and can gather themselves, play a final warm-up, and (especially for string play.....

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6;≈∋††+, †+∞+ ∋+∞ ∞≈≤++†∞⊇ ∞⊥ ∋ †∞≠ ≈†∞⊥≈ †+ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞. 3∞†++∞ †+∞+ ≈†∞⊥ +∞† +≈†+ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞, †+∞ ⊥∞+≈+≈≈∞† ∋∋≈∋⊥∞+ +≈ ≈†∋⊥∞ ∋≈≈+∞≈≤∞≈ †+∞ +∞⊥∞+†+;+∞ †+∞+ ≈++∞†⊇ ⊥†∋+. 7+∞+ +∋=∞ ⊥+∞⊥∋+∞⊇ †+∞ ≠++†∞ †;≈†, +∞† †+∞+ ⊇+≈’† ∂≈+≠ ∞≈†;† †+;≈ ∋+∋∞≈† ≠+∋† +∞† +† †+∞ ∋∋≈+ ⊥+≈≈;+;†;†;∞≈ †+∞+ ≠;†† ∋≤†∞∋††+ ⊥∞+†++∋.

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

4+≠ †+∞ ≤∋≈⊇;⊇∋†∞ ≈†∞⊥≈ +∞† +≈†+ †+∞ 3+∋⊥++≈+ 8∋†† ≈†∋⊥∞ (≈†∋⊥∞ +;⊥+† ++ ++∞≈∞ †∞††). 4 ≤†+†+ ≈≤+∞∞≈ ⊇;=;⊇∞≈ †+∞ ≈†∋⊥∞ ∋† †+∞ ≤∞≈†∞+. 7+∞ ≤+∋∋;††∞∞ +∋≈ ∞≈†∞+∞⊇ †++∋ ∋ ⊇+++ +≈ †+∞ +†+∞+ ≈;⊇∞ ∋≈⊇ ≈;†≈ ∋† ∋ †∋+†∞ +≈ †+∞ +†+∞+ ≈;⊇∞ +† †+∞ ≈≤+∞∞≈. 7+∞ 330 ≈†∋+†∞⊇ ∞≈;≈⊥ ≈≤+∞∞≈≈ ;≈ †+∞ 1970≈ ∋≈⊇ ≠∋≈ ∋ ⊥;+≈∞∞+ ;≈ ;†≈ ∞≈∞.

7+∞ ⊥∞+⊥+≈∞ ;≈ †+ +∞ †∋;+, †+ ≈+† ⊇;≈≤+;∋;≈∋†∞, ∞=∞≈ ≈∞+≤+≈≈≤;+∞≈†+, ∋⊥∋;≈≈† ≠+∋∞≈, ∋;≈++;†;∞≈, ++ ∋ ⊥∋+†;≤∞†∋+ ⊥∞+≈+≈. 7+∞ 330 ≈+≠ +∋≈ ∋∋≈+ ≠+∋∞≈ ;≈ †+∞ ≈†+;≈⊥ ≈∞≤†;+≈≈, ∋†≈+ †+∞ ††∞†∞ ≈∞≤†;+≈, +∋+⊥, ≈∞≤+≈⊇ +∋≈≈++≈, ∋≈⊇ ≈∞≤+≈⊇ +++≈ (5∋≤+∞† 0+;†⊇∞+≈, ≠++ {+;≈∞⊇ ;≈ 2011).

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

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


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


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