Audition repotoire question
I was wondering about the usage of less standard or modern repotoire for auditions. I play viola and will be auditioning in a couple years and a few of the schools I’m auditioning for require a sonata selection for the audition. Would it be a disadvantage to pick something modern that I truly love and connect with but that the committee may have never heard. The piece I’m talking about is Jennifer higdon’s viola sonata which I love. Should I just play a standard piece even though only about maybe 2 or 3 audition committees would hear it.
Thank you for any help you can offer
This is a tough question to answer. I think playing less popular/slightly more obscure rep is great for recitals, but a huge risk for auditions. You are asking a panel of players to evaluate your skill as a violist, and when you play a piece they might not have even heard before or don't know too well, you are tacking on the responsibility of having to advocate for that work (in addition to playing it well). Does this make sense?
You may be underestimating the people listening to you. If you're planning to audition for a top school, I would expect the viola faculty to be familiar with the Higdon. She isn't an obscure composer.
Jennifer Higdon's works are certainly not obscure, and would be familiar to string faculty at any major school.
I defer to the other people on this forum in terms of what the faculty may or may not be familiar with. I certainly acknowledge that Jen Higdon is not an obscure composer. My advice was mostly on the risks associated with choosing rep that is less well-known than the standard rep. The faculty will definitely know that the sonata exists, but will they know it well? With Higdon, this may not be a major consideration, particularly at top schools, but it is something to think about. I agree with Gene that, at the end of the day, your choice should be dictated by which piece best represents your true potential as a musician. Sorry if I wasn't clear earlier.
Thank you for all the advice
The biggest risk in choosing repertoire is in not playing it well. Unless the audition list is specific, play what you want...but put your best foot forward.