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3+(!) positions in the worlds oldest orchestra, The Royal Danish Orchestra

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by Shosta, Sep 28, 2009.


  1. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    Dear all,

    As a musician in the Royal Danish Orchestra (in danish: "Det Kgl. Kapel" which means something like "The Royal Chapel" (long story), located in Copenhagen, Denmark) I would just like to tell those of you who might be interested that we have an audition for no less than at least three bass positions on the 13th of November 2009. One 1st solo, "a number" 2nd solo and one tutti.

    The Royal Danish Orchestra is the worlds oldest orchestra of its kind, dating back to 1448. The orchestra consists of 130 musicians and most of the year it functions as an opera and ballet orchestra (the Royal Danish Ballet is regarded as one of the top ballet companies in the world) in the newly build national operahouse, Operaen, and in what we call "Gamle Scene" ("The Old Scene") (both links are in danish, sorry, but I link anyway since there's a couple of pictures). The (also) newly build Danish Radio Copenhagen Concert Hall (again, danish) is the venue for the orchestra's symphony concerts. Over the years, many great conductors and composers has collaborated with the Royal Danish Orchestra, including Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, Georg Solti, Paavo Berglund, Daniel Barenboim, Carl Nielsen and Otto Klemperer.

    The job as a musician in RDO is, in my humble opinion, wonderful - great orchestra playing, great halls, nice salary, three months paid holiday every year and (maybe most important) a fantastic atmosphere between the musicians where people have respect for each other, knows how to party and have a nice time in general. My american colleagues from the orchestra also tell me that when it comes to workload and holidays, the job as a musician in the RDO is a luxury position.

    As a permanent (which you are for life, if you want to (danish orchestra musicians can't be fired unless they turn up drunk for work, or in some other way turns "bad")) you have to play around five "gigs" a week (a gig being a rehearsal, symphony concert, opera- or ballet performance). The most gigs I've played on a week was ten, and the least, zero. Weeks with three or four gigs isn't uncommon. The starting salary for a tutti player is around 6000 $ a month. For each year you choose to stay the salary grows. Solo players is of course payed more. I don't know exactly how it works in the States concerning sickdays, but here you of course get paid for your sick days as well (I heard some horror story about having to pay from you salary for the days you were sick, so I just thought I would mention it).

    Plus, you get to live in Copenhagen (This time, in english) "Copenhagen has repeatedly been recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life, and in 2008 it was singled out as the Most Liveable City in the World by international lifestyle magazine Monocle on their Top 25 Most Liveable Cities 2008 list." - Wikipedia.org. Every dane knows how to write and speak english, by the way :)

    A live recording from a recent symphony concert can be found here, and this is our most recent DVD recording (Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung) which won the Gramophone Award 2009.

    Deadline for applying for the positions is Monday, October 26th 2009 at 12.00 a.m. I would strongly recommend everybody who wants a great job in a great symphony orchestra to consider applying!

    Details about the audition can be found here (scroll down abit) and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to write me a message!

    Sorry for the long post and my bad english!
     
  2. bejoyous

    bejoyous

    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Wow, that sounds like an awesome gig. I'm stuck here for now.

    How come there is an obligation to play 5-string. Are extensions considered too ugly?
     
  3. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    Hi bejoyous,

    I honestly have no idea.
     
  4. THE SAW

    THE SAW

    Sep 14, 2006
    Is this the same group as the "Danish Radio Orchestra?"

    I guess I should ask if Dausgaard is your music director.

    Anyhoo, heard you guys back in 2000 or so when Albrecht was there.

    Let me know if you are the same group-in any case, Denmark rocks.
     
  5. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    The National Danish Radio Orchestra and The Royal Danish Orchestra is two different bands, both located in Copenhagen.

    Both orchestras are very good, but after having played for around two years in each, I must say that I prefer the RDO -better strings and better atmosphere.
     
  6. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
  7. PDavyduck

    PDavyduck

    Apr 9, 2009
    Langley, BC, Canada
    Retail Sales Specialist for FMIC
    Where's LMBass..... :ninja:

    he needs to see this....
     
  8. THE SAW

    THE SAW

    Sep 14, 2006
    Jeez....

    Thanks for this great posting, -truly, Denmark is a wonderful country, and those positions look fabulous. The salary is not very high as I've calculated it to come to about $80,000(?) in one of the world's most expensive places. I thought it was a "EURO" country-looks like the Danish Krone is still in use, eh?

    I also thought the whole Scandinavian zone was strictly French Bow land! What a surprise!

    Would you care to comment on benefits-both from the orchestra and the country? Can one live near the hall?

    THE SAW
     
  9. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    First of all - as long as your playing sounds good nobody here cares whether you use the german or the french bow! The bass section in the RDO is around half and half, I reckon.

    It is certainly possible to live in Copenhagen (and near our three concert halls) for the salary. Plus, the longer you stay in the orchestra, the more money you get, of course. $6000 a month is the first "salary step", and it keeps raising for the first twenty years you work in the orchestra. I f.x. have bought a nice appartment located ten minutes away from the operahouse, on foot. My only permanent income is the salary from the RDO and I'm still on the first step.

    All in all I think the salary is fine, considering that I only have to work for around 15-18 hours a week (principle players work even less for more money), which is far less than the amount of hours you have to work in other big opera companies in Europe. It gives me plenty of time to play chambermusic and freelance in other orchestras, if I want to earn more money, in my free time (having a permanent job in the RDO makes you attractive for all other scandinavian orchestras). Since the orchestra is quite large (130 musicians), it's quite easy to get time off the job when you want to (while keeping the salary, of course). This month I play in two orchestras, f.x.. The RDO lets me take time off where a gig conflicts with a rehearsal or concert in the orchestra I'm freelancing in. I just have to play 210 RDO gigs a year. If I play more than 210 gigs in a season (which you'll never be forced to do), I get payed as a paid assistant (or whatever you call it) on top of my normal salary for the extra work.

    @The Saw: I can't say enough good things about Copenhagen (and Denmark in general) - it's a beautiful, cosy and friendly place. Free healthcare for everybody, excellent public transport and getting to live in one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world which also is one of the greenest and most environmental friendly places, is also things that I appreciate. The city is filled with great cafés, restaurents, pubs, concert venues, museums, bars, cinemas and theatres. Copenhagen is full of contrast as well. The hippie city Christiania f.x. lies almost right next to the opera, and everywhere modern architecture mingles with old.

    In case you have kids it might also interest you to know that education on all levels (elementary, college, university and so on) is also completely free, open for everybody and very highly ranked internationally. In fact the state pay you enough money each month for studying to live comfortably, so students never need to worry about student jobs and student loans. Unless of course they want to live more luxurious, in which case the state offers student loans with a very low interest. And as I mentioned before, Denmark has repeatedly been shown by scientists to be the happiest place on earth :)

    The job itself is my absolute dream job! It's always a blast playing with the orchestra. The playing is on a high level and the energy is wonderful! Best of all is the atmosphere. It never really feels like work because of people always being friendly towards each other and because of our luxurious surroundings. The opera house is filled to the brim with pool tables, fitness rooms, lounges for relaxing, and a good cantine with a huge terrace with a beautiful view over Copenhagen. The orchestra also have their own bar which is selling great beer and champagne from different micro breweries in Denmark and France at very low prices. The bar is only open for the musicians, ballet dancers (!), actors and chorist of the Royal Theater (although conducters have been spotted once in a while sitting in a dark corner of the bar). You can also always get a massage for 15$/hour from the orchestras massage therapist.

    Every season you get to play everything from Wagner, Berg and Strauss to Bournonville ballets and Mozart operas. The theater also have a cycle
    of chambermusic concerts spread over the whole season every year, so you also get to play quite alot of chambermusic and chamber orchestra. Plus, of course, the symphony concerts which are almost always sold out and extremely fun! The next DVD recording planned is Wagner's Tannhäuser on DECCA which we also are going to play on a tour in New York.

    The danish language takes some time to learn (from what I hear), but the theater gives free danish courses if you want them and the orchestra (and danish classical music life in general) has alot of foreigners anyway so it is not seldom that I speak more english than danish in a day. Out in the real world over 80% of the danes speak english fluently.

    The job also comes with a nice retirement plan (pension scheme) fully paid for by the theater, on top of your salary.
     
  10. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    Aw, I just read what I've written and I certainly do not hope that I sound like a nationalist jerk; The Saw just asked me to write abit about the benefits from playing in Denmark, and I honestly feel very privileged living there.

    Oh, and about the euro. Yes, for some reason we still use the danish krone, but that will hopefully change soon!
     
  11. thinears

    thinears

    Aug 4, 2009
    Denton, Texas
    I don't think you sound like a jerk. But I do think this sounds like a dream job. Good Lord. *sigh*
     
  12. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Oh man, I can't believe what I'm reading. . .
    I'm of Danish descent and visited there for the first time in May.
    I felt at home the whole time, staying with family, and speaking quite a bit of Danish.
    (I play in the local opera and a few community orchestras here in Canada)
    I wish I thought I had a chance at the job.

    Jeg elsker Danmark!
     
  13. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    If you think it sounds good, why don't you come to the audition? What's the worst that could happen? A small holiday in Scandinavia...
     
  14. PDavyduck

    PDavyduck

    Apr 9, 2009
    Langley, BC, Canada
    Retail Sales Specialist for FMIC
    Ya!! What he said!! ;)
     
  15. Andrew Grandahl

    Andrew Grandahl

    Sep 11, 2007
    Boston
    Man I wish I could take this audition. Sounds like a dream job really, I love Scandanavia and have tons of relatives in Copenhagen. Maybe some day...
     
  16. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    Here's another live recording where we play Beethoven's "Emperor" piano concerto with Daniel Barenboim at a concert in the Danish Radio Concert Hall. Sorry for the bad sound (YouTube FTW).
     
  17. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    What a coincidence; Oprah visited Copenhagen recently and she seemed to like the city. She came to fight for getting the olympics to Chicago. The RDO played at a huge IOC galla show in the Operahouse, and we all got to say hello and toast with Oprah and Michelle Obama at the VIP + orchestra-party afterwards. They seemed nice and friendly :)

    Youtube - The Oprah Winfrey Show - The Happiest People on Earth:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
     
  18. cb_man

    cb_man

    Apr 16, 2007
    Shosta, any news on who won? It was last friday, right? Were all the positions filled at once? Can you give us a small recap on how things went?

    About the subject of 5-strings vs extensions someone was asking about earlier on the topic, when they say it's mandatory to play a 5-string instrument, does that actually mean, literally??

    I always thought that it meant you had to be able to play the lower notes when asked to, be it on a 5-string bass or with an extension - because there are still lots of people who don't have one. Can anyone clarify me on that?

    One day we'll all move to Copenhagen...!
     
  19. Shosta

    Shosta

    Sep 28, 2009
    We got two new colleagues at the audition:

    Meherban Gillet (UK)

    and

    Ramsey Harvard (USA)

    I don't know what the deal is with the 5-string thing, sorry (I'm not a bassist), but I am looking forward to the day you all move to Copenhagen!
     

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