I believe there was a trial this week. Do we know what the result was?
Heard this was a no-hire... I believe there were 2 trials in total
May I add a thought that there are more and more players who feel quite entitled to these positions. Just because one orchestra hires you doesn't indicate that another orchestra or it's process is bad or unfair because they didn't hire you.
I find it odd to read complaints about "highly qualified" candidates not being hired. More than anything it shows (on the part of the complainant) quite a low/dismissive level of understanding and maturity with regard to what it means to be a) a good musician, and b) a professional. Ideally everybody in the finals has demonstrated a certain level of competence, but that is far from everything.
I don't like no hires either but I've also served on committees and know how tricky the process is. Everybody hates it, but a no hire is necessary at times. It's the price of democracy!
It is also more and more difficult to come across well in trials when so many players only know how to fit in and not how to actually contribute. The best orchestras want to better themselves with new hires, not stay the same or hire a trainee.
Sorry for being slow to respond! It definitely gives me pause, but the desire to hire within orchestras is extraordinary. It has major contractual implications for instance - the longer a seat goes unfilled the less likely another section could have a much needed expansion - the board would never agree because the orchestras seems to be "getting by"... Also, members want consistent colleagues, and to know they get the same pay and benefits as they do. Rather than having subs who aren't consistent (in presence or playing) or losing great subs would take permanent work in a lesser orchestra because of the consistency etc...
I think there is an assumption that we are actually ready for the big gigs after doing some training orchestra. But many committee members bemoan the frustration of passing outstanding auditions only to discover that the winner (in their trial) has no real valuable experience to contribute to the section, or no actual leadership skills, or a very narrow understanding of styles. Often after no-hires it seems like orchestras feel duped because too many people focus on winning the audition and not enough on developing the skills and experience that orchestras seek for the longevity and artistic growth of thee organization.
While this doesn't apply to the Atlanta violin audition, I agree that many younger players who win auditions aren't ready to "turn pro." More audition winners (especially at these big jobs) are coming straight out of school rather than out of the current workforce or even a training orchestra. They have massive talent, potential, and work ethic, but often are completely untested professionally. On the other hand, there are countless extremely professional, respected players who just don't have the chops to win a major audition. And unless you change the audition model, there's very little anyone can do about that.
It is clear that many of these players will eventually be great orchestra players but might need some time to adjust. In that case, why is a one-week trial superior to a one-year tenure process in a noncompetitive situation? Are we afraid of the stigma of not granting a player tenure? Should we always expect someone who can go from Class A or AA straight to the major leagues without adjustment? Or is it the player's responsibility to find a lower-paying job where they can professionally develop out of school before taking these auditions?
We can't expect players to only auditions for jobs they're qualified for. It's hard to even know that information. But yes, it's on the players to build their experience and be as ready as possible to take on a job and it's responsibilities which are well beyond simple execution. Moreover, if we don't have experience that prepares us to do a job well and confidently on day 1, we shouldn't be so surprised that an orchestra would pass us up.
Auditions are hard on orchestras. Imagine coordinating a date for all your string Principals (likely very in demand teaching and performing, apart from their orchestra duties) and a globe trotting MD to sit down and listen to dozens of players. Committee members paid a pittance... Imagine the disappointment a year later when despite their need to fill that seat, they cannot offer it to the person on trial because they simply don't cut it?? It feels like an incredible waste of everybody's time. And the fact that they couldn't figure it out in that season's time further underlines their lack of real world preparation.
Anyway, I agree that the audition process could be better but so far I can't think of a better way!
(I did not take this audition)
I recommend everyone avoid auditioning for ASO. There is incompetence at the helm of this ensemble (the MD)
This orchestra's track record of hiring musicians since the start of the MD's tenure is lackluster.
It appears the ASO has failed at least 4 section string trials in the last 2 years, all highly qualified players and at least 2 who currently hold ICSOM jobs. That is a very high rate for section players.
The unsuccessful audition process I went through last year with the ASO exposed several professional faults that I feel are worth comment.
The audition committee designated two "backup trialists" to stave off the possibility of holding a third audition (the previous audition for the positions was a failed trial no-hire). This concept, while inventive, creates different expectations for the primary and backup trialists, and is also problematic if the identities of the backups are known to the committee.
My trial week was conducted with another trialist; the backup trialists had individual trials. This also creates differing expectations for candidates.
The music director was absent for the final concert of the trial week because of a scheduling conflict.
The committee switched mid-trial from a model where one member evaluated each applicant to a model where candidates were rotated around the section during the last two rehearsals. It seemed that the attitude to whether candidates would receive feedback during the trial process was mixed among members of the committee.
It was repeatedly stressed by the personnel manager after my trial that I continued to be under consideration and I would be notified if candidates were hired. I learned of the hires through friends, and never heard again from the personnel manager. The entire audition process took nine months.
There are certainly changes to make, but I don't think it really helps to say "don't audition here." Orchestras are entitled to fail trialists if they feel that it is not a right fit. It certainly appears that the ASO wants to be especially demanding in their trial process, and candidates who audition should know that. I am happy where I am now; I only comment because I felt disappointed in some of the fixable professional elements of my audition process.
I empathize with your experience, however, we are not technically discussing the trial process with which we put our candidates though, rather the rate of no-hires the ASO has made since the appointment of our current music director, which I would deem on par with most other orchestras. The fact of the matter is that absolutely nobody, and I stress nobody, wants a no hire audition. Anyone who has sat on a committee knows this and I'm sure will agree.
Since our music director has begun, we have hired a principal clarinet, principal horn, associate principal percussion, three section cellists, and a slew of one year players. We have no hired one bass trombone and one section second violin audition.
To say that our music is incompetent not only is eyebrow raising but also incredibly disrespectful to the musicians that successfully have won jobs here under her leadership.
Candidates who have not sat on committees and are going through the audition process just do not understand the complexity that goes into committees and the logistical and procedural parts of hiring etc. I had no clue while auditioning, so this is not a criticism but an observation. If you think you know what went on, you don't. And the reason you don't is because it's confidential, anonymous when possible and private to respect all involved. If there was a no hire, someone did not get the votes. That's for all committees. I agree with the individual above, pay attention to hires as well and don't use black and white thinking to insult an MD and an orchestra when you just do not have all the info. It's disrespectful and frankly, misinformed.
We all want to hire. Sometimes we are desperate to hire. My orchestra (not the ASO) always wants to hire and we want to hear great music making, but if it's not there, it's not. These jobs are jobs for life, right?
I encourage anyone who's had a bad experience auditioning with an orchestra to speak to the local union rep. Provide constructive and real time feedback. Defaming an MD or orchestra online will not make the process better. Addressing issues with the personnel manager and local union rep, will. I understand auditioning and no hires are frustrating, it's frustrating for committee members as well. It's not a perfect process. In most cases, everyone is doing their best and there isn't out right malicious intent.