As my blog on auditions insinuated, there is a clear imbalance of supply and demand when it comes to the job market for musicians. Conservatories for the past few decades have emphasized training toward specific careers: orchestral, chamber or solo. With the competition so great and such a small niche to choose from, music schools are finally realizing that the training they give is inadequate to prepare young professionals for a career that necessitates skills beyond playing an instrument. Waiting for a big break to happen in the orchestral audition process can take years (everyone heard CSO cellist Ken Olsen's story?: http://www.allthingsstrings.com/How-To/Build-a-Career/12-Ways-to-Ace-Your-Orchestral-Audition), and there are much more fulfilling things to do with time than be that starving artist at the local coffee shop.
It’s not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Mozart, but it’s also not easily forgotten: Mozart was just 14 when he was commissioned for his first opera.
While most of us were likely more focused on getting our drivers license or who we were taking to the senior prom as teenagers, the fact that Mozart at such a young age wrote so many enduring pieces was not lost on the St. Charles Singer’s director Jeffrey Hunt.
"In the end, the only study of music is music. Program notes and pre-concert lectures can be helpful ways of showing you the door in the wall and of turning on some extra light, but the only thing that matters is what happens privately, between you and the music. As with any other form of falling in love, no one can do that for you.... Music, like any worthwhile partner in love, is demanding, sometimes exasperatingly demanding. Its capacity to give is as near to infinite as anything in this world, and what it offers us is always and inescapably in exact proportion to what we ourselves give." - Michael Steinberg
When I was a kid, I never really liked playing the game "musical chairs". One small misstep and you were out for the rest of the game awkwardly watching the other kids play. Unfortunately, this seems to be a game I can't escape if I ever want to play in an established symphony orchestra. The process of winning an orchestral job is so similar to the slightly sadistic game that one of the main sites for job postings is actually titled "musicalchairs.info". We have all heard that orchestras are changing their approaches to drawing in audiences, but the one thing that seems not to change is the audition process.
Celebrating her first season with the Chicago Sinfonietta as the new music director Mei-Ann Chen sat down with Chicago Classical Music to chat about her first season, goals with the organization and favorite things in Chicago.
Your conducting style is so intensely energetic and vibrant as compared to other conductors I’ve seen. Where does all that energy come from? How did you develop such a unique style?
It’s a combination of all my experiences. I worked with the oldest youth orchestra in the country, the Portland Youth Orchestra. The most precious thing that I took away from that experience was that those children make music from the heart. They don’t know hardship yet and make music in the purest form: they simply make music because they love it. The energy that they had has remained with me and their love for music reminds me why I wanted to be a musician to start.