Wow! Principle 2nd Violin Position Open in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra!

Edited: July 17, 2018, 7:19 PM · I follow The Violin Channel on Facebook and there is an opening for principle 2nd violin in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Deadline for applications is July 29th, 2018. I hope someone here applies, and reports back their experiences at each step of the process. It's something I've always wanted to know about!

Replies (59)

July 17, 2018, 10:40 PM · The only applications that will be taken seriously are from people who are already holding a comparable position in a respected professional orchestra. This is not an entry-level job.

You might find of interest some of the many threads on where the professional orchestra audition process has been discussed. Here's a start:

July 18, 2018, 1:03 AM · Oh no! I personally don't want to get a job in a professional orchestra, lol! I was hoping someone else would go for it and report back here, preferably in a blog about how it all went.

I'm pretty realistic about my goals for violin playing. All I want to do is join my two local community orchestras. I know I'll never be a professional musician.

I heard that it is actually super hard to get a job as a member of a professional orchestra, even if you went to the best conservatories and earned higher degrees because there are so few positions open and only so many orchestras in the world. I really admire those that made it!

Here is a really good article about some people after they graduated from Juilliard ten years later:

The Juilliard Effect: Ten Years Later

July 18, 2018, 1:15 AM · I'm reading the link you've posted and it is so informative! Thank you so much!
July 18, 2018, 1:34 AM · My point is that a random v.commer “going for” the IPO opening with the intent of blogging about the process would have just one very short blog entry consisting of “I was not invited to the audition.”
Edited: July 18, 2018, 2:23 AM · That makes me wonder what the demographics are of members. I know that the principle 2nd violin position can only be open to people who already have experience in professional orchestra, because the principle 2nd violin is the leader of their section with a lot of responsibilities. I wonder how many then of members would actually qualify regardless of whether they want to audition or not.
July 18, 2018, 7:14 AM · Also, there may be those who are well qualified who would welcome an opportunity to work and live in Israel.
July 18, 2018, 7:54 AM · And there are those that might not want to participate in the cultural sphere of an ongoing apartheid colonial project

July 18, 2018, 8:45 AM · “ I wonder how many then of members would actually qualify regardless of whether they want to audition or not.”

Very few. My auditioning days are over, but it is extremely unlikely that I would be invited to such an audition. I don’t think people are grasping just how good and how experienced one must be to be qualified to audition for this kind of job. It’s the same phenomenon that leaves people insisting that there are many flute players in the world who could get a job in the Boston Symphony when in fact at that level there are very few.

Edited: July 18, 2018, 10:46 AM · Sometimes Ray Chen comments here. He'd probably have a shot. I'll bet even he would prepare like the devil for it, if he truly wanted the job. The Israeli Phil is not exactly a second-rate band, and Principal 2nd is a critical chair. I'll bet the person they hire is not too far from Ray in terms of chops and would likely have a few notches more in terms of experience.
July 18, 2018, 10:49 AM · So they are basically only taking auditions from people who are at least section players in full-year orchestras?
July 18, 2018, 12:12 PM · Nathan Coles (Associate CM of LA Phil ) sometimes comments here. He is competitive!

But why would he want to leave sunny Southern Cal for anywhere else?

Edited: July 18, 2018, 12:21 PM · Jason, I don't know, but why would they do otherwise? What job position places no value on the applicants experience? Does a jury want to go through the time and trauma of listening to 100's of applicants play, or might they want to narrow it down? And a leadership position like principle second is not just about playing skills.
Edited: July 18, 2018, 1:57 PM · I went further into to reading about that position directly at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra website.

Position Description and Requirements:

It says that it's a "substitute" position starting from March 2019 to end of February 2020.

There are also two other openings on that page for violin 1 and 2 (tutti). It's pretty interesting. The violin 1 is also a "substitute" position:

"In the event that a member from the orchestra is chosen for the position for concertmaster (which will be held in July 2018), a substitute Tutti position in first violin will open, starting in October 2018 (or the winning candidate’s earliest availability), for one year with an option for an additional year."

What I'm taking away from all this is that no one was chosen to be principle 2nd violin from the 2nd violin section and that's why they are auditioning from the outside (tough bosses!).

I've read about new orchestra members going through a probationary period before becoming tenured. Is this "substitute" designation similar to that?

July 18, 2018, 1:17 PM · I guess this principle 2nd violin position would be perfect for those who are already in 2nd violin in their own professional orchestras whose principle 2nd violin is in no hurry to leave. They may see this opening as a great opportunity to move up in rank regardless of where in the world this is.
July 18, 2018, 1:32 PM · Paul Deck - I agree that the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) is no 2nd rate band. Zubin Mehta is IPO's music director and he only leads the most prestigious orchestras: Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and now Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Edited: July 18, 2018, 2:20 PM · A substitute position is a temporary one, where a player is hired as needed to fill the ranks when there are not enough full-time members of the ensemble available for whatever reason. Sub positions are not a guarantee for future hiring, although in some groups players have clocked in quite a bit of experience as sub players before taking an audition and winning an open position. This experience can help to understand the culture and expectations of an orchestra and the conductor, the sort of intangible things that might make a small difference.

A good friend of mine has won a number of auditions recently, and he is what I would characterize as a "practice machine." His strategy, schedule, and planning is absolutely methodological. Everything from sleep, diet, equipment, number of playing hours per day, health considerations, etc. are carefully recorded, tracked, analyzed, etc. If anything, he is over-prepared for even the smallest part-time opening. However, I believe this contributes to the confidence that manifests when he plays, and audition committees have responded very positively to the quality of playing that he demonstrates...of course when it comes to playing he is absolutely top-notch. I admire his skills in this area...I certainly don't have them!

The current-day audition circuit is extremely competitive, and there are many superb players from top conservatories vying for a very limited number of open positions. Those of us who are not practicing the equivalent of five hours a day and meeting a high professional standard of playing, do not already have significant experience in professional orchestras or their relevant training ensembles, and spend more time on Internet forums than career development, are not in contention for any job of this level. :)

July 18, 2018, 3:00 PM · "What I'm taking away from all this is that no one was chosen to be principle 2nd violin from the 2nd violin section and that's why they are auditioning from the outside"

No, that's not true. There will most likely be current IPO members auditioning. No one is selected for a principal chair in any professional orchestra, let alone one at that stature, without an audition. Members of the orchestra may bypass the first round of auditions, but generally get no more than that. (This is usually true even at semi-pro or high amateur levels.)

What the posting means is that they are auditioning for concertmaster soon, and there is a chance that someone in the orchestra will win the position.

July 18, 2018, 3:55 PM · When universities hire into positions like Dean, Provost, and President, very often there are both inside and outside candidates.
Edited: July 18, 2018, 6:07 PM · In many organizations, there may already be an internal person for the position, but they will nonetheless go through the motion of open search to be in compliance with external regulations and/or expectations. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some of that in the orchestra audition circuit.
July 19, 2018, 3:06 AM · Now that Israel has declared that it is a Jewish nation, I suspect they are looking for Jewish musicians only.
July 19, 2018, 8:08 AM · The opposite could be true also David.The audition committee is aware that someone wants the job within the orchestra but go international just to keep their options open.If the player in the orchestra is interested they can show up at the audition and compete along side the international candidates.I just went through this situation...
July 19, 2018, 9:49 AM · What's the big deal about a vacancy in the Israel Philharmonic? They have occasional vacancies, as do orchestras all over the world.
July 19, 2018, 9:57 AM · Scott, I think the OP was hoping that someone who comments regularly on this site might apply for the position and convey back their experiences.
July 19, 2018, 1:21 PM · Andrew Hsieh - I read the description again and now that you point some things out, I think you're right. The description is for "substitute" so it probably means IPO already picked out a permanent principle 2nd violinist and as Gene Wie had described substitute, this position that has the audition is to fill in for when the permanent one is unavailable.

Paul Deck & David Zhang & Peter Carter - That's true about there often being internal and external hiring in many career fields. In mine too. I don't know why I'm thinking musicians should have a special case.

Lyndon Taylor - Well Zubin Mehta is Indian and he's still the director of IPO. I grew up in NYC and have a lot of Jewish friends both those who embrace it and those who wish they weren't Jewish. They're not any worse or better than any other groups. They're generally very smart and very funny! I really like them as a whole. I know some of them won't mix with anyone else but there are groups like that in EVERY nationality. When I went to nursing school, the Russian students wouldn't hang out with the rest of us, but the Russian Jewish students did.

July 19, 2018, 2:28 PM · No, the person who fills in for a missing principal 2nd is their stand-partner, the associate principal 2nd. Some orchestras will also have an assistant principal 2nd (the 3rd chair of the 2nd violin section).

Subs will always fill in for section violinists.

July 19, 2018, 2:59 PM · But this is a substitute for principle 2nd violinist? If it was just to fill in for section violinist, wouldn't they post auditions for just 2nd violinist? This is confusing.
July 19, 2018, 3:26 PM · You're confused. That's not at all what they're auditioning for.

They've got an opening for a principal 2nd (note spelling), an opening for section 1st violin, and an opening for section 2nd violin.

Also, it's possible that an existing IPO member will win the concertmaster audition currently taking place. In that case, the member would presumably be winning the job on a provisional basis. Therefore, they potentially need to fill that member's seat with a substitute. Consequently, when they audition for the section positions ("tutti"), they may potentially also have a third, substitute, opening to fill.

July 19, 2018, 4:30 PM · Okay, spelling noted. But what does the substitute 2nd violin (principal) do then? They're not tutti musicians that sit in for other tutti musicians, right?
Edited: July 19, 2018, 6:30 PM · This could be a temporary principal 2nd position for a 1-year period. Either their current principal 2nd is unavailable for a full year, or they've selected one who will not be able to join the orchestra until 2020. That would be a long enough time that they might audition for the seat instead of having the associate principal fill in all year.
July 19, 2018, 7:59 PM · I see. That would make more sense!
July 19, 2018, 8:38 PM · One thing is for certain, if you get the position and you're not Jewish, you won't have the right to self determination, that right is reserved only for Jews.
Edited: July 19, 2018, 10:03 PM · And if you were, you also would have the right to take over other peoples properties and lives, namely Palestinians'. As they've always given themselves the rights since 1948. The newly.passed apartheid law 'légalises' historic Israeli racism, colonisation and discrimination. Before anyone, Jewish or Otherwise, thinks of contributing to the ongoing dispossesion of the Palestinians, I urge them to look into this deeper and know what is happening on ground.

July 19, 2018, 10:36 PM · I think it would be better if we didn't argue politics here.
Edited: July 19, 2018, 10:47 PM · I beg to disagree. Encouraging people to think twice about contributing to the cultural institutions of a state performing ongoing ethnic cleansing of its indigeneous people and enforcing an apartheid state of rule over the remaining is not 'politics'. You mean to say it is a politically divisive issue, that is something else.
Edited: July 19, 2018, 10:53 PM · Tammuz, I find what you wrote to be very offensive.

I hope the admin. will remove it.

There are other places on the internet for your personal beliefs about the Middle East.

July 19, 2018, 11:12 PM · I don't wish to offend Andrew and nothing I said was offensive to your person. I cannot help it if you do not know what's happening there. I've seen and heard enough horrors (including the willful killing of young children, even now in Gaza) from that racist colony state that I feel compelled to say something when someone gives publicity, knowingly or unknowingly, to this state. Whether you wish to believe me or not is up to you. Ive said my part.
Edited: July 19, 2018, 11:34 PM · Laurie, can you please remove Tammuz’s posts?

When I come to this forum, I shouldn’t have to read about someone’s disdain for a country or its people. That’s not what this forum is for.

July 19, 2018, 11:23 PM · Yeah, I only posted that news about the JOB POSITION. Not any political whatever. Let's just stick to that.
July 19, 2018, 11:36 PM · Okay how about if we don't talk about this particular "politically divisive issue" on the grounds that it's just too far off topic. A European could just as well say that they hope nobody would play in any American orchestras because of various US laws and policies that seem to them inappropriate.
Edited: July 20, 2018, 12:04 AM · OK Paul, one last link for the curious and I'll find something else to do : check her blog, lots of background info

July 20, 2018, 12:08 AM · I'm posting to redirect the thread back to the actual point, that of an audition opportunity to 2nd violin (principal). Even though it is only a substitute position, I think it's still a great opportunity that if won, would look great on your CV. Wouldn't experience like this help for the next opportunity that may be more permanent?
Edited: July 20, 2018, 1:47 AM · Any members who are qualified for such a job almost certainly already know about the opening if they are actively taking auditions. The vast majority of members would be wasting the IPO's time (and their own) even just to send a resume.

If you would like to read a blog about the professional orchestra audition experience, here are a few you may find of interest:

Edited: July 20, 2018, 2:04 AM · This topic is pretty silly, in that seems to expect that auditioning musicians should blog about this really tough process for the amusement of people who don't even know how to spell 'principal'.

I don't see any 'disdain' in Tammuz's posts. Israel has become, whether you sympathise or not, an apartheid state with a massive number of social taboo issues, and that's something you need to factor in if you're even thinking of auditioning for this orchestra.

If memory serves, in the past famous conductors have volunteered their services to work with the IPO because the state of Israel was such a marvellous experiment. So it goes both ways.

Edited: July 20, 2018, 11:41 AM · Oh my gosh just drop the political crap already! Also if you think this thread is silly, you're free to skip it. Triggered people aren't forced to read it, lol!
July 20, 2018, 2:53 AM · Mary Ellen Goree - Thanks for the links! I will look into them!
August 4, 2018, 11:27 AM · The London Philharmonic Orchestra also currently has a bunch of vacancies. I'm tempted to follow something along the lines of the audition challenge that Nathan Cole organised a while back.

Somewhere on YouTube there's a video of the LPO's leader doing an audition masterclass with a student. It was eye opening to say the least.

August 4, 2018, 1:34 PM · Israel P O is major league. No one has yet mentioned it's origin, which is relevant. Bronislav Huberman saw what was coming in 1930's Germany, recruited the best Jewish musicians in Germany and East Europe to move to Tel Aviv, Palestine, to form an orchestra. He is credited with rescuing 1,000 Jews from the Holocaust (that's the Greek word for burnt offering). Israel exists as a Jewish refugee state for the following historical reasons: legal immigration from East Europe to Ottoman Palestine before 1914, Balfour declaration, Ottoman Empire being on the loosing side of WW 1, League of Nations declaration, post-WW2 United Nations declaration, and, Not loosing the wars of 1948, 1967, etc.
August 4, 2018, 1:41 PM · Yeah, a legalized apartheid regime!!
Edited: August 4, 2018, 3:32 PM · Ok. With the onset of hasbara (pro Israel propoganda) , see joel post above, I reserve the right to respond and correct. If we're going to allows false propaganda to elicit sympathy for an entity committing ethnic cleansing and colonizing other peoples homes, then this deserves a response.

No.Israel exists because zionist leaders and militias starting from 1948 started ethnically cleansing the territories that became Israel from its original inhabitants in order to create an ethnocentric nationalist colonial enclave on territory that belongs to another peoples lands. Terrorists' gangs- from the 1948 Stern, Leah, Hagannah and do on down to today's so called IDF, their state army- massacred Palestinians, driving them out in hordes and stole their lands, homes and villages and instating a colonial ethno-centeric rule where a Ukrainian or German or any other person who happens to be jewish from any corner of the world has the right to take over property that is not her or his, while palestinian refugees do not have the right to go back to her or his ancestral home.

To this day, Palestinian children are being shot down by Israel soldiers like a hunter shoots down an animal, Palestinian families have their homes being demolished to make way for further colonisation. Palestinians are either penned up in the ghetto of Gaza, where an inhumane blockade that reminds one of what Jews went through in Europe is still ongoing, being threatened daily by encroaching settlements that terrorize them under the permitting eyes of the Israeli army, live under discriminatory laws in occupied Palestine (ie "Israel") ie aparthed laws, or in diaspora, forbidden to return to their homeland.

Here is Ilan Pappe, an Israeli professor and author of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, on the early zionist presence and ideology in Palestine.

August 4, 2018, 3:11 PM · This discussion belongs on a different forum
Edited: August 4, 2018, 3:23 PM · So does misinformation and hasbara and there was a lot of that in your past post (pertaining to how Israel came to be), Joel.
August 4, 2018, 5:13 PM · ... like to chat about music, technique, instruments? Maybe rosins or shoulder rest pros&cons? Anybody...?
Edited: August 5, 2018, 12:34 AM · Tammuz, I understand and respect your view. I think Joel’s main point was that the IPO was and is a first rate orchestra. I recall reading as a child that the IPO started as an orchestra of former concert masters ( of various orchestras in Europe). Can I respectfully ask that we don’t turn into a political forum?
August 5, 2018, 5:14 AM · I am finding that parts of this discussion are difficult, if not downright unpleasant, to read.
Edited: August 5, 2018, 2:30 PM · I can't help chiming in.

Both Joel's and Tammuz's remarks contain facts, not propaganda.
Neither tell the whole story.
Dealing with ancient and recent history in our modern world is a minefield which must be crossed.
And no-one has a monopoly on either good or evil.

August 5, 2018, 7:25 AM · Israeli Zionist treatment of the native Palestinian population is pretty downright unpleasant to read about, yes!!
August 5, 2018, 11:56 AM · All, - I apologize for reacting to a provocation. No more comments from me.
Edited: August 5, 2018, 8:08 PM · Joel Quivey: Didn't know that was why IPO was formed. Interesting!


Jack Armstrong: "I'm tempted to follow something along the lines of the audition challenge that Nathan Cole organised a while back."


If you do please share your experiences! I always think such challenges are interesting to look into.


"Somewhere on YouTube there's a video of the LPO's leader doing an audition masterclass with a student. It was eye opening to say the least."


I'm having a hard time finding any masterclasses from LPO. All the masterclasses I've found so far are from the London Symphony Orchestra on YouTube, including a conducting masterclass with Valery Gergiev with 3 students. I'm surprised he didn't take away their conductor's batons and gave them toothpicks instead, lol!

August 6, 2018, 2:34 AM · "I recall reading as a child that the IPO started as an orchestra of former concert masters ( of various orchestras in Europe)."

I don't think that is true, and it also wouldn't necessarily make for a good orchestra culture, just like three or four soloists don't make a top piano trio or string quartet. At the time the Palestine Philharmonic was founded (as it was called back in 1936), a lot of Germany's orchestras were forced to fire their Jewish players, and some of these went to Palestine. Others emigrated to the US.

The IPO is a good symphony orchestra but I wouldn't rate it a top orchestra. It's not nearly in the same league as Berlin Ph O, Concertgebouw, Cleveland or Boston.

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