Another Audition Report, since That Other One seemed pretty popular

ASO Principal Bass Audition Report – June 1&2, 2015

We received over 60 resumes, and everyone who applied was invited unless they missed the deadline by an unreasonable amount of time.

Based on deposits received, we expected 36 total to show up. Of those, three were no-shows or last-minute cancellations.

We heard 29 in the prelims, and four additional players were invited to the second round, all titled tenured members of ICSOM orchestras.

The 7-member committee sat onstage, where we are able to hear the bass with a lot more presence and clarity than from the audience. The first two rounds were screened. The Music Director was present for the final round only.

Prelims:

No Bach or concerto. Everyone started with Mozart 39, first movement, mm 40-98.

Everyone also played Beethoven 5 third movement complete.

If players made it through those with good intonation, nice tone, good rhythm, and a clear Trio stroke, they went on to play the Haydn 31 solo, then Brahms 1 first movement letter E, then finally Heldenleben 9-12.

Most of my comments centered around:

Mozart 39: theme was too loud. Seemed like most people treated it like mf. 16th note passage rushed.

Beethoven 5 Scherzo: not enough vibrato. Lots of accented downbeats where no accent is written.

Trio: almost everyone played this too fast for 8th note clarity. We would much rather hear it slower than the Scherzo and with clear articulation.

Haydn: Many players added ornaments on the repeats, which were appreciated. Bravo to all who got creative.

Brahms 1: inconsistent note length

Heldenleben: sloppy arpeggios

Second Round:

Of the 29, three advanced to the screened second round, joined by four invited players.

Almost everyone played every excerpt. No solo Bach or concerto.

Mozart 35 first movement, mm 13-66.

Mahler 2 first movement, beginning to 2.

Beethoven 9 fourth movement K.

Brahms 1 second movement, mm 47-60.

Mozart 40 fourth movement mm 45-71.

Bartered Bride, beginning to 6 after A.

Many players were asked to play Mozart 40 again, lighter.

Final Round:

Of the seven who played the second round, three advanced to the unscreened finals, joined by a current ASO player.

Finalists were given the choice between a movement of solo Bach or a concerto movement. All opted for Bach. One played the 3rd Suite Bourrees in G, one played the 1st Suite Gigue in G, one played the 5th Suite Gigue in A minor, and one played the 3rd Suite Allemande in G.

All players played all excerpts:

Mozart 40 first movement, mm 11-136 and 191-225.

Mahler 2 first movement, beginning to 2.

Mahler 2 second movement, pickup to 6 thru 6 before 8.

Mozart 35 fourth movement, beginning thru m140.

Heldenleben, 2 before 61 to 70.

Ginastera Variaciones Concertantes movement XI solo.

Some players were asked to repeat certain excerpts, for example Mozart 40 a bit faster and more off the string, or with more attention to dynamics.

All of the finalists played basses with gated extensions, all played French bow (although our section is mixed), three played modern instruments, and one played standing (reportedly just to avoid the hassle of lugging a stool to the audition.)

After the finals, the committee and the Music Director conferenced for maybe 30 minutes. We chose a winner and offered a contract, bypassing our typical trial-week process.

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One response to “Another Audition Report, since That Other One seemed pretty popular

  1. Thanks for sharing this info. As an ASO Chorus member, I am very curious about behind the scenes on-goings of the symphony.

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