Milwaukee Symphony: No Principal Cellist

Well, the internet cello world is abuzz: no one won the Milwaukee Symphony principal cello audition.

Their problem is that they didn’t hire me for the job when I auditioned in 1988! That was the last orchestra audition I ever took. DePauw hired me as the cello professor here, and I decided to stick with college teaching and playing chamber music.

As for the recent Milwaukee audition, I don’t get it. I know a fantastic cellist who plays in the section of a major symphony, is an extraordinary artist, and who will someday make a great principal cellist. And I know at least one member of the Milwaukee cello section who would make a great principal cellist, too. What’s their problem?

I don’t know. Could it be . . . committees? The curse of academic life is being on committees which debate and argue endlessly and can never decide on anything. Audition committees can do the same thing. And music directors can get bizarrely picky.

The rest of us will never know what happened. But a lot of us know that there are great players out there who would make a great principal cellist, and some of them were at that audition.

And I’m glad I’m not taking orchestra auditions and applying for jobs any more!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Milwaukee Symphony: No Principal Cellist

  1. Brother

    Brother,

    Sometimes the player they have in mind just happens to be in another orchestra…if I had the choice between wasting the better half of a day sitting on a panel and spending the next 20 years playing behind someone who plays quite well but for a small but irritating tick, I’d cash the boring afternoon and have myself a nice round of golf when the weather gets nicer. Principal seats are a big deal.

    -Brother

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