Yesterday I wrote a post about the recent Seattle Symphony audition. This process resulted in no candidate being chosen, and I put out my two cents on how this procedure and subsequent unsuccessful result can demoralize and frustrate auditioning musicians. In retrospect, I may have not have chosen the best descriptors for this frustration, mentioning that the whole process had a tone of arrogance and disregard for the situation of auditioning musicians.
I did not mean to direct this comment at the Seattle Symphony per se, but rather to use this incident as an example for one of the most frustrating aspects of the audition scene.
Principal Bass Section Bassist Jonathan Burnstein left a comment on this previous post, clarifying some errors in my former post and giving an informed perspective on the process:
A small point of clarification: the recent Seattle Symphony bass audition was for assistant principal bass and not for a section position as noted in your post.
As far as your comment about the SSO’s “arrogance, disregard, and disrespect toward one’s fellow musicians” I surely hope you are not serious. While I do not wish to comment on a specific audition, I can tell you that I’ve participated in several auditions in different orchestras where no one was hired. After being a candidate, committee member, or proctor in these situations, it has been my experience that decisions on hiring are never determined frivolously. Often (and not just in auditions) there is no clear-cut decision, and we are forced individually and collectively to choose between several different difficult scenarios.
Also, nearly every orchestra has specific contractual guidelines for auditioning which must be followed to the ‘t’. Please understand that while this or that particular orchestra may have a certain hiring process that is ‘not working’ according to some, it would be a profoundly complicated if not impossible thing to alter in their CBA.
Kudos to you on your “Road Warrior” series which I have enjoyed very much. In my opinion it takes real intellectual courage to come to such a well articulated and independent assessment of one’s situation.
Best wishes to you and your readers!
Jonathan Burnstein, Seattle WA
You can read my follow-up to this comment on the post page here.
I appreciate this insider feedback from Jonathan, and I agree with his sentiments.