Saturday, August 15, 2009

Audition Tale

So the audition is over! This was the local "Big Symphony" 2nd oboe/EH chair. I was in the 2nd group of hopefuls - apparently there were 16 people and they heard us 6 at a time or something like that. The first group started at 9:30 am, and I was told to be there at 10 for position drawing.

I was first in the 2nd group to play. Good spot, who wants to wait around getting more and more nervous? They gave us the order of excerpts and we could use our own music. It was Mozart exposition, Brahms Vln, La Scala, Don Juan fast and slow, and New World on EH.

We each got a practice room (which was very nice). The moment I stepped into the practice room my heart started pounding like crazy. Before that I was pretty calm. So I'm trying to deep breathe and get my heart rate at some more normal tempo so I can even try to warm up. I played a bit but I almost passed out - my logical brain was thinking how ridiculous it all was, but when your body reacts there isn't much you can do about it!

So I was wishing for beta blockers, wondering how much time I had when there was a knock at the door. The proctor told me they were listening to the last person in the first group and then they were taking a break. Thank God. So I had some time to pull myself together. Eventually I think my heart and adrenyline just ran out - glad I had enough time for that to happen.

I was able to run through things, a bit shaky but after a few minutes things were going ok. I thought I would just take a tiny bit off the tip of my reed and I realized I had LEFT my reed knife on the table at home. HOW stupid was that? Then the proctor came back and it was time.

We went to the stage door and the stage manager (who I know) wished me luck and asked if I had any questions. I was really glad there was a water cooler right there and I asked if I could bring a cup of water with me. The hall is beautiful and I was really excited to finally get a chance to play in there. They had set it up a table, where I put the water and EH. There was an instrument stand provided but I figured I might knock it over (klutz that I am). There was even a chair but I had been playing standing so I just moved that out of the way.

The panel was out in the orchestra seats - big screen covering any sign of them. I didn't hear a peep from them, so different from our hilarious attempt to screen the Little Orchestra auditions (where you could see our feet under the table). Time to start. I tried taking deep breaths, but after a couple I figured it wasn't going to get any better, so I started. Opening was pretty good, not the best I've ever done, but I got all the notes in there. The Mozart went ok, OMG the hall was AMAZING. I really did sound great in there. But I wasn't super even on the fast passages, although I don't think I actually messed up, and a couple of the low Gs didn't speak (stupid inattention).

After I finished there was no noise. I just got the Brahms up and played. It actually went great, but the evil 8th note blips at the end the A didn't speak! But I was happy with it except for that. Still nothing from the panel, on the La Scala. I got through at a reasonable tempo, but it was kind of uneven. I have to double tongue it cuz my single tongue is the slowest known to man, and I think when I am nervous it exacerbates the unevenness. Oh well. I was super delighted I nailed the low C at the end and got through it with no actual note issues, but then I heard K say "thank you".

So no Strauss (probably my best of the set) or EH for me. I wasn't really surprised but I wish I could have played those. But the job of the panel is to weed us out. I did hang around for almost TWO HOURS for the official word on who would go on, I didn't realize that not playing all the stuff meant I could leave right then. But it was great to visit with some of the other oboists, after we'd played everyone was in a more chatty mood.

Four people from my group went on, and two from the earlier group. I heard they chose three people from the 2nd round to go on to a 3rd round, and they offered the job to someone. I guess we'll see if they take it within a week. It really seems amazing that people would fly in, pay for hotels food and airfare for a 16K job. But what do I know - some of the auditionees were from NYC, Boston, Florida, Chicago - only 4 were "locals" (Pacific NW). All the people in the 3rd round were from far off places. The level of talent was really remarkable.

So overall, I am totally relieved! And I think it was a great experience. In between terror I loved the way I sounded on the fabulous stage, and I certainly can hear a big difference in my playing. I am glad I wasn't too invested in the whole process, I was mainly doing it because it was right here. I am thinking I may audition for the sub list (apparently that has to be a separate thing) in September. Right now I am enjoying an oboe-free day!

No comments: