Friday, March 6, 2009

i needed a break, so i took one!

Last month I had a bit of a frustrating audition experience. I felt very well prepared for an English horn audition, although when I arrived and found that they were asking both oboe and English horn in the first round, that threw me for a loop a bit. But I said OK, I can do this. I think I played a pretty solid audition. It wasn't spectacular, but it was pretty accurate, and I made no major mistakes. My Brahms Violin Concerto had a bit of an airy tone to start, since I had just come from playing William Tell (who makes people do that on an audition???? That would never EVER happen in real life. And I double on oboe and EH a lot). But other than that, it was a decent audition. And yet I did not advance, despite the fact that people who made many more mistakes than I, still advanced. They always say that your first round has to be so accurate, when here it was not the case. People say these auditions are a crapshoot, and I know this, but when it actually happens that you cannot understand the actions of the committee, it still feels pretty awful. I also had another tough time with summer festival auditions (why do these ALWAYS creep up on me?) and have already gotten some rejections. So I have been taking some time off the oboe, and my friend Kim visited me from Chicago and we had a little spring break celebration. We did some fun LA stuff: the beach, Noshi sushi (yum), Montana Ave and 3rd Streed Promenade in Santa Monica, the Coffee Bean, Upright Citizen's Brigade comedy, Point Dume in Malibu, biking along the beach in Santa Monica, LACMA, Hotel Cafe where we heard The Jane Doe's, and dinner at El Cholo (again, yum). Before I go back to work this weekend with (gulp) Ein Heldenleben, here are some pictures from Point Dume.

cool rock

another cool rock

waves on the beach

view of the point from the beach

waves crashing below the point

moon in the sky

soaring hawk

clouds over the Pacifc

the beach from the point

yellow flowers on the point, overlooking the Pacific


G.Davis said...

Gorgeous! I miss the ocean...

Patty said...

I don't do auditions. They are truly brutal and so atypical of what music is about, but mostly I'm too lazy and too old. (How many 52 year olds win auditions?)

My advice, though (and I'm sure you already do this), is to play for as many people as possible. Even set things up like an audition; have them ask you what to play. Have them say, "Could you do that again, please?" If the auditions are behind the screen I've even done that for someone.

The winner of our opera audition played for both oboists and other instrumentalists. The player made sure to play for a seasoned opera oboist, since he knew the rep better than anyone else would. That player clearly knew where the music fit in the opera.

You probably know all this already, but just figured I'd mention it.

You really have my sympathy. Auditions are just awful. I'm not sure of a better way, but I hate 'em. (It used to be that a conductor just chose people, and that sure didn't work well either!)

I recently read a long post by a musician who was extremely depressed about the whole thing. The player deemed himself a failure because out of almost 10 auditions he only won one. I had to smile, even while I felt for him, since I've heard of people who take many more than that before they land a job. What a TOUGH business this is. Sigh.

Hang in there! (And if you're ever up in my area I'd be quite happy to hear you play!)

Gabrielle said...

thanks, patty, you're so kind. i'm not giving up yet! but it is hard, very hard, especially for those of us "normal" types: i am musically talented, but not in any extraordinary way, nor do i possess extreme discipline. i think that a lot of the musicians who win jobs easily have one or both of these traits. but not all, of course! so i will keep trying.