Friday, March 5, 2010

Audition repertoire

I've been goofing off, googling audition requirements, trying to suss out how much I suck on some kind of absolute metric. They bear much in common. Here are a few for undergrads:

Mozart, Weber Op 75, or Hummel, first two movements, from memory
major and minor scales and arpeggios
etude of choice
two contrasting orchestral excerpts

Complete sonata or concerto of choice
Two contrasting etudes or another solo work
Three or more excerpts

Two or three selections, including a Milde Concert Study

Standard concerto (i.e., Mozart, Weber)
One or two etudes such as are found in Milde Concert Studies, Vol. I
Two contrasting orchestral excerpts

San Francisco:
Major, minor, and chromatic scales
Telemann Sonata in F minor
Milde Scale Studies or Weissenborn Advanced Studies, or other works of equivalent difficulty.
For grad work, they ask for three works chosen from Mozart, Vivaldi, or Hummel Concertos, Bach cello suites, Saint-Saëns Sonata, or other works of equivalent difficulty; plus orchestral excerpts.

Berklee (contemporary, not classical)
Prepared piece
Improvisation, incl over a blues progression
Ear training: call and response, interval ID and chord quality

I've played works at that level, so if quality doesn't matter, I guess I'm there, about as good as a serious seventeen-year old. Makes sense, that's about how old I was when I stopped practicing. Interesting to see scales on there, and so few of them. When I practice scales, I tend to do lots more kinds, copying off of my wife's jazz studies, since they teach not just technique, but new kinds of harmony. Also this list makes me happy that I'm practicing the Mildes.

I did play one audition this year, back in September, for one of the community orchestras that has pretensions to seriousness. I lied, and said that I'd only taken bassoon up again for a couple of weeks, when in fact I think I'd been playing for at least a month. I tried to play Saint-Saëns, figuring that it wasn't too hard, and I'd played it before, though when I tried working it up there was stuff which was basically impossible. I was really nervous, and didn't start very well, but the technical stuff comes late. I got stopped after about five bars, and asked if I had anything else to play, which I didn't, not really, except for some French etude which sounded a lot like the Saint-Saëns. I then got asked if I played contra, which I didn't. Then he said a lot of things, but mostly, they already had two bassoons, and didn't really need more, except for maybe a contra. I thought I'd failed, and failed so badly I'd been stopped quickly to avoid wasting his time. Still, I got called when their other bassoonist left, so maybe I passed.

Now, I see the same piece on a graduate audition repertoire list. That doesn't mean I'm any good, anyone can play anything, if quality of performance doesn't matter. Auditions are about how well you can play the piece, no credit just for stumbling through something.

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