From Richard Hellinger
Posted June 1, 2006 at 03:38 AM
The kinds of opportunities available to you in upstate New York are different than those in a big city. I used to live in Albany/Schenectady, but I moved away to Phoenix specifically to take advantage of the greater opportunities.
One thing that Phoenix has that upstate New York doesn't have is a thriving tourist business. Almost all of the venues I've worked, with the exception of the Phoenix Symphony, are heavily patronized by what Phoenicians call "snowbirds" or people that live in cold weather climates that come to visit or live in Phoenix during the winter. We have some really big resorts that employ plenty of musicians for corporate events, weddings, and private parties. Many of my friends make their entire living playing only those types of corporate gigs. We also have dinner theatre type shows like Organ Stop Pizza and Broadway Palms and many other shows where patrons come in, have a dinner, and then enjoy a good show. The nonclassical scene is strong here and the movie thing is just starting to get off the ground. Basically there's more professional music going on in Phoenix than there was in upstate NY, and that's why so many of my fellow musicians here are actually transplanted upstate New Yorkers!
I'm not saying move to Phoenix, Richard Hellinger. I'm just saying that I was in your shoes once. Your bio indicates that you've got good potential to go far in the music business, but you've got to understand that music is more location driven than people realize. That doesn't mean that you might not catch on where you live, it just requires a different set of skills. Where you work determines what kind of work you do.
For me, it has been vastly better to be a small fish in a big pond than a big fish in a small pond.
That's a tough orchestra to get into, as it's in the same town as the Eastman school. One has to be a real violin zinger with a resume to match to get into that orchestra, and the competition is extraordinary for any violin positions there. You'll be competing against seasoned pros, many of whom are top level violinists on the internation stage. I'm not saying that you couldn't compete with them, I'm just saying that any internationally famous violinist of the highest caliber would be competing for a section violin spot against other violinists just as good and as famous as he is.
It's really hard in music to determine what your career path will be after your education ends. I know people who've completely bypassed school and are now successful full-time pros. I also know people who have multiple music degrees that were not able to find their niche. Without being discouraging, I'm suggesting that you stay active as a student in the world of gigs and opportunities. What you do in school has a direct impact on what you do once it's over.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Really Pro Orchestra :-)
All probably more difficult to get in than your RPO...
also, richard, having your teacher in an orchestra will do very little for you getting into that orchestra, unless your teacher is principal, or behind the screen, or has telepathic powers.
Orchestras are notoriously fickle in their audition requirements. Just because you play up to the standard of one judge doesn't mean that you play up to the standard of another. Remember that the conductor is involved too, and often he's not a violinist and has specific needs in mind.
I don't know if you know the reputation of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Dallin Creswell, but it's definitely a top tier international organization. I don't know if Ilya Kaler is still the concertmaster, but he's as great a violinist as anybody could ask for to sit in any top orchestral position. Just because those other groups are more well known to you doesn't mean that they're more well regarded or harder to get into. In fact, my guess is that it's harder to impress Ilya Kaler than it is to impress just about any other concertmaster in the world. Remember that he's a guy that's won practically every competition that exists, including Tchaikovsky and Paganini contests. Then again, those other groups might indeed be harder to get into that the RPO.
Orchestral judging comes down to the individual taste of the people doing the judging. You can play a totally "perfect" audition that leaves one judge raving while another judge thinks that such playing is totally unacceptable for the orchestra. I'm sure that if you have an orchestral audition with 100 people, 99 of them would be fine candidates for the slot based on playing alone. Selecting which one of the 99 to keep is the hard part and is based more on luck and fortune than people realize.
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!