Friday, January 15, 2010

Just as Long as They Keep Their Hands off Carey Bell

The New York Philharmonic hasn't found a replacement for the recently-retired Stanley Drucker yet. The current strategy is to invite a series of guest clarinetists to sit in with the orchestra for some period of time to see how they fit in. For some reason, they're refusing to identify each individual during their guest stints. I can't say I understand this; given the intertubes, how long is it going to take a critic with a phone cam - not that I know any of those - to get a line on the identity of any clarinetist good enough to audition for the NYPO??

That said, good luck! Except, see my headline. No poaching allowed!

Update, January 15: Dan Wakin has a longer follow-up to the ArtsBeat piece. Personal to Dan: San Francisco Symphony has been quite forthcoming about the identities of musicians sitting in with the orchestra for a try-out period. I saw Assistant Principal Violist Katie Kadarauch and Associate Principal Horn Nicole Cash when they sat in with the orchestra, and the press office was happy to tell me their names.


Elaine Fine said...

Of course there are clarinetists good enough for the NYP. It is just a question of whether the NYP is good enough to persuade someone like John Bruce Yeh (I don't know if he is even interested) to leave a perfectly good job in a perfectly good city.

This is the way all of the "big" orchestras pick their principal winds these days.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The above posting is intended to be read as rather tongue-in-cheek, because Carey is in only his third season at SFS and I'd hate to see him go so soon. He was at the Opera before that and is a great, great player.

But, FWIW, at SFS they hold auditions, then they have one or more of the finalists sit in with the orchestra. This is what happened with the recent horn opening, for example, and with the couple of viola openings. It appears from the Times article that the NYPO is skipping the audition process and going directly to the sitting-in stage with invited clarinetists.

CK Dexter Haven said...

I don't think the NY Phil skipped the audition process; I haven't seen their CBA, but I'm guessing that this process of having guest principals sit in with the orchestra is an extension of a process that started with open auditions in Oct 2008 from which they decided not to hire any of the finalists.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, that's what I got from the two articles: the original audition process didn't result in a decision, so they're trying this. If you're bringing in top people who have spots in other orchestras, and the scuttlebutt on them is good, you can depend on their technical strength and so on.

CK Dexter Haven said...

I find it interesting that the general media is paying a lot of attention recently at the various comings & goings of their orchestra's principal players.

As I had previously posted on Tim Mangan's blog, I understand the desire to keep a certain amount of anonymity in the audition process, but public concerts are just that -- public -- and it seems a bit illogical for anyone to assume that this the information should remain private. Keeping things quiet and not actively publicizing it is one thing; flat out refusal to share the info like the NY Phil's actions is another.

The LA Phil used to list substitute performers on their orchestra roster in their programs, and when they'd have a guest principal sitting in with the orchestra, they'd put an insert into the program with a short bio -- without ever acknowledging whether or not the reson for the guest gig was for an audition. They don't do either anymore, and I think it's kinda sad.

If it doesn't matter whether or not the audience knows the names of individual performers, why publish any of them? (I ask that rhetorically, of course . . .)

It should be noted that sometimes guest principals aren't necessarily auditioning. A few years back when LA's principal oboe job was still open, Allan Vogel sat 1st chair for a week. I bumped into Janet Ferguson (then Principal Flute) and asked her if Vogel was auditioning; her response was something like, "No, but I wish he were."