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Why Ensemble Quality is Lost

 

William “Bill” Lucas – joined the trumpet section of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1988 bringing versatility and a flair for jazz. He has served on musicians’ Orchestra, Education and Negotiating Committees.  Bill has a national reputation for coaching musicians in the art of audition preparation and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Music where he teaches jazz trumpet.

In the second part of my article I discussed excellence in Ensemble – being on a stage full of musicians who perform at your level and all expertly communicate with one another, not with voice, but with music.

 

There are many reasons why the Ensemble of an orchestra can wane.  In some cases, a maestro can be responsible, possibly due to an inability to communicate, a lack of respect for the players, or wanton disregard for the job at hand. In other cases, it can be contractual hardships that create ensemble disharmony, perhaps due to excessive run-outs, lack of relief time, or an orchestra complement too small to achieve proper balance, resulting in extreme fatigue and eventual muscular and joint failures.

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Why Move to Another Orchestra?

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William “Bill” Lucasjoined the trumpet section of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1988 bringing versatility and a flair for jazz. He has served on musicians’ Orchestra, Education and Negotiating Committees.  Bill has a national reputation for coaching musicians in the art of audition preparation and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Music where he teaches jazz trumpet.
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In part one of my article series I discussed how grueling and expensive auditioning for an orchestra can be.

So the question becomes, why move to a job in another orchestra if you have one already? Why would you want to play in a major orchestra anyway, even if you are freelancing? With all of the expense, energy and effort required to play an audition against several hundred other musicians, and the likelihood that you will come home empty-handed, why bother to audition at all? (more…)

What it Takes to Land a Major Symphony Job

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William “Bill” Lucas joined the trumpet section of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1988 bringing versatility and a flair for jazz. He has served on musicians’ Orchestra, Education and Negotiating Committees.  Bill has a national reputation for coaching musicians in the art of audition preparation and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Music where he teaches jazz trumpet.

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What does it take to land a job in a major American symphony orchestra such as the Detroit Symphony? Or the Philharmonics of Los Angeles and New York? Or the Symphonies of Boston or Chicago?

Like most corporations, gaining entry into a symphony orchestra involves a process of scrutiny. In the business world, we know this process as the job interview, which involves both a mailed resume and the subsequent in-person interview itself. But in the symphony orchestra world, while resumes are still mailed, the interview is replaced by what is known as an audition. These auditions are attended by musicians from all over the world, and, consistently, boast a candidate pool of several hundred for a single opening. So to understand how a musician becomes a tenured member of a top-ten orchestra, one must first have a look at the audition process itself. (more…)

Tools of the Trade

Posted August 19, 2010

 

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Patricia Masri-FletcherM.M. The Juilliard School, has been Principal Harpist of the DSO since 1988, She also holds the positions of Instructor of Harp at Michigan State University, Professor of Harp at Madonna University, Life Member of the American Harp Society and Life Memeber of the World Harp Congress.

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One of the most inevitable questions I get about the Harp is: “How much does that thing cost?” I used to ask people to guess. Not anymore. Most people take a step back from my instrument when I tell them that my Italian-made Salvi Minerva (affectionately named “ Tall Red”) now sells for $47,000.

For the professional musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), our instruments are the tools of our job. Each musician is responsible for providing his own instrument, except for the piano, celesta, and much of the percussion,  which is owned by the DSO.

Every craftsman owns tools for his job. An on-site carpenter needs his own tool belt, including hammer, wire cutters, pliers, nail pouch, tape measure, carpenters (flat) pencils, etc. (more…)

Meadow Brook Remembered

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Beatriz Budinszky (Staples), now retired,  became a member of the Detroit Symphony’s violin section in 1964. She has been an active member of the orchestra participating on the Artistic Advisory Committee and the Volunteer Council.  Bea completed her master’s degree at the University of Hartford.

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As do most major American orchestras, the DSO, at one time, was fortunate to have a beautiful summer home.  On the grounds of Oakland University, Baldwin Pavilion was given to Oakland University by Matilda Dodge Wilson with the intent that it would be the summer home of the DSO and the nucleus of a major performing arts center.  Nestled amidst gently rolling hills, the pavilion is a natural amphitheater with superb acoustics in a picturesque setting. (more…)