Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I thought that when school ends, you get vacation, but that hasn't worked out for me yet. The audition a few weeks ago went OK. I feel better about it with a little time and perspective. I talked to the comment person (whom I happen to admire very much), and that was very helpful. He had some suprising things to say about several aspects of the audition. I found what he had to say about the committee very interesting--about the wide ranges of opinion on specific players as well as basic attitudes about what they were looking for from the auditioners. Personally, he was somewhat flexible on rhythm, though any audition advice I've heard has always been "Play exactly rhythmically! Someone behind that screen will be tapping a beat!" His point was that it's more difficult to play exactly rhythmically alone than it is when the orchestra and the conductor is keeping a beat for you to follow. With which I agree whole-heartedly. But he said other members of the committee were complete sticklers for rhythm. He was more concerned with pitch, but slight problems were not an issue since everyone has those. What he was really looking for in an English horn player, which is a solo position, was leadership. A sense that the player was willing to go to extremes of dynamics (particularly diffucult on English horn, which has a small dynamic range and an alto voice that is easily lost in a sea of orchestral sound) and really get his or her musical ideas across, rather than simply stick to exactly what was on the page. He would prefer that players not try and guess what the committee wants to hear, but play true to themselves and hope that the committee likes who they are, not who they think they should be. I think this leadership idea is definitely something I can work with, to really own my excerpts and play them the way I want to play them, and to stretch my playing to the extremes. I was surprised at first when he thought my Roman Carnival was timid, but now that I think about it, it could be more soloistic. I need to work on faster tonguing for Nocturnes (no surprise there), but was happy that he mentioned he liked my quiet setting for New World. Since I was upset about Nocturnes, I am rather proud of myself for being able to pull myself together for New World. I need to exhibit more a forceful side at some point of the audition, though. Can do, will work on it! I was happy that I fixed some of my problems from Buffalo, and that I was able to seal myself off before the audition better (with the exception of an annoying but unavoidable encounter during the swtichoff of individual warm-up rooms--who asks someone who's about to play an audition if they can see her reed????) Of course, it helped that they didn't tell me I was about to play and then go off on a break. This time when my embouchure felt tired, I knew that it was a nervous reaction and not a physical reality, so I told myself, "You played a recital last week and you haven't played too much this morning. You are NOT tired. Lips, form a normal embouchure, OR ELSE." And it actually pretty much worked! I still need to work on my support giving way, and my old teacher gave me some excellent advice for working on it.

Well, soon as I got back to LA, there was a new job (weird place, but flexible so I can practice) and the Disney Hall Debut concert. Debut may not be the best orchestra ever, but I was happy to be playing Shostakovich 10, several of my colleagues sounded amazing, and Disney Hall was great, so I was generally very happy. I was also happy that my solo went fine and projected well, probably thanks to the hall. That piece has some ridiculously fast licks in it. They kind of flew by, oh well. Maybe I hit a few of those notes!

To complicate things, my parents came for a visit, which was great, just not always relaxing. Mom stayed a little longer, and we did lots of fun LA things--Rodeo drive, Getty Center, shopping in Santa Monica, good food, walks along the beach, in addition to some errands. I have som nice photos, maybe I'll try and post a few.

Now I just have to do laundry, clean my room, practice, catch up on things.


Patty said...

I'm one of those "tempo people" when I'm on the other side of the screen. I understand it's not the same as playing in a group, but I do want the auditionee to keep good time (and I'm guessing that you do keep good time!). I mostly listen for musicality. I'm not into perfection. I'm into art.

Our goal, of course, is to be "perfectly artistic".

I don't care for mechanical playing, and the trouble with being into tempo is that the musicality might disappear. Sigh. It's all about balance, isn't it?

I wish you all the best in your futue auditions! :-)

Gabrielle said...

i think he meant more specific rhythmic elements, like the placement of a dotted-eighth/sixteenth, for example, rather than pulse.

it is indeed about balance, like just about everything else :)

thanks for your encouragement!!