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Boston university

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by BHurn, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. BHurn


    Sep 29, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Hey guys,
    Is Boston University a challenging school to get into? Better yet, I will describe my current level and you tell me if I am at the right pace.

    I am 15 years old and a Sophomore in High School.
    My current(as in working on) Concertos include Bottesini 2 in B Minor, Koussevitsky Op. 3, and Dittersdorf in E Major.
    I can perform Bottesini's Elegy in D and all Vivaldi sonatas.
    I am also working on Eccles, as well as the Bach cello suites.
    I can play in 3 octaves scales E-D, with arpeggios
    I can play in 2 octaves Eb, with arpeggio

    Thanks guys!

    P.S. Any criticism is gladly accepted. Constructive criticism of course. :-D
  2. mattgray


    Nov 16, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    Wait... you're working on all three... at the same time?

    If you are...

    Save Bottesini for college. Work on the Dittersdork and save the Koussevitzky until about halfway throught your junior year (maybe, perhaps sooner or later, I dunno. Space it out as you want) and use the Kouss. as a college audition piece. BU is a ridiculously challenging school to get into, but if you do get in and graduate from the program, you'll turn out to be a sick player. I'm a freshman in college working on the Bottesini so I wouldn't worry about that now, give it time. Work on the Kouss. to perfection and you'll be fine. Also consider picking up a Bach piece, most schools nowadays (and I'm sure BU wants them) want at least one along with a movement or two from a standard bass concerto. The Prelude (if you can pull it off), Bourrees 1 &2, or the Gigue all from the third cello suite are great audition pieces. Also, the Minuets from the 1st suite are pretty well known to be audition pieces as well.
  3. I would say focus on one of the concertos, if you can really and i mean REALLY play all those pieces then you dont need our help to get into BU, my guess is that (and I was the same way two years ago when I was a sophomore) you can play all of them, but the rhythm isn't 100% and the intonation could be a little better. I'm not doubting your ability but to really maintain that list of rep, it would take like 5-6 hours of practice just on solo work.
  4. dleecountdown


    Sep 11, 2006
    At my BU audition last year Ed Barker asked me to play some excerpts I had been working on. On the BU website it did not list any excerpts to prepare for the audition but in general many teachers will want to see one to even four (Colburn) excerpts at your audition.

    My recommendation would be to keep working on specific solos (Kouss, Bach) as you have been. Also start familiarizing yourself with the orchestral repertoire. Beethoven 5, 9, Mozart symphonies 35, 39, 40, and definitely Brahms 1 or 2. These are staples of any orchestra audition list (college auditions as well!) and contain some of the greatest bass parts ever written.

    Also I'd suggest combing through the recent college auditions threads and see what others a little older than you played for their auditions

    -Good Luck!
  5. i am a sophomore too
    and i have heard BU is a very difficult school to get into
    and even though i don't have the experience some posters do
    i am in the same boat as you
    i can sort of kind of play bottesini, i can play the dittersdorf, and i am now working on the kouss.
    i assume you have already done dragonetti and dittersdorf is the next step
    i used to want to do it all at once but then i stated to practice them individually and i quickly went through dittersdorf
    the cello suites are a really good idea to study as well as eccles
    but i really want to go to Indiana, CCM, or NEC
  6. when i say sort of play bottesini i mean that i can get through it with constant stops and changes in tempo
  7. So you wouldn't be confident playing it front of a top notch professor? Confidence is key for auditions you have to know your piece inside and out. I'm going to be auditioning with the Kouss in February and I have already played all the first movement passages with drones and metronome like 8 billion times. I don't even have to think about the shifts any more they just happen. So now when I go in front of a person like Diana Gannett or Ed Barker instead of quivering in my boots I can just trust my fingers to do what theyre good at. This is why its important to focus on one piece.
  8. I don't think he was saying that he was going to be playing it in front of a top notch professor - he's a sophomore in high school... You 09er's sure are competitive ones
  9. mattgray


    Nov 16, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    Frankly, the idea of any sophomore playing Bottesini makes me sick (unless it's the Elegy in D :) That's what I did my sophomore year). It can be done, but I'd really wait until college to start learning it. It's a good audition piece and college professors know EXACTLY how it should go in an audition situation.

    I have to reinforce the importance of excerpts too. Excerpts are a necessity for pretty much any school. They might not list them on the website, but they will ask for them, especially a school like BU. At least familiarize yourself with one or two major excerpts from Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms, and even Strauss, if you can.
  10. Isn't Boston top notch? he's going to be auditioning eventually, why not get an early start studying like a college student, by studying music to its full performance potential.
  11. i would never preform the bottesini for anyone that could determine my future
    i was just saying that alone practicing i can slowly go through it
    i am only seriously working on Kouss.
    and i am furnishing the dittersdorf
    but i want to seriously start practicing the bottesini late senior year and early college

    excerpt wise i think one of the best is Beethoven 5 mvt. 3
    all the mozarts are good too
  12. Thats what I thought, Bottesini isn't easy, for anyone, let alone a high school student, the second movement is actually do able though, more lyrical rather than finger bleeding technique.
  13. #1Stool


    Sep 30, 2008
    That statement's a bit melodramatic for this forum, don't you think?
  14. professorslinky

    professorslinky Banned

    Apr 7, 2008
    Boise Idaho
    Forget about those concertos, they are boring and suck. I suggest that you play tubin and arpeggione (not a concerto but impressive). If you have superior technique then you shouldn't have any trouble with either of them.
  15. Andrew Grandahl

    Andrew Grandahl

    Sep 11, 2007
    BU is an excellent school for bass. Both Ed Barker and Larry Wolfe are great players and teachers, they'll definitely guide you in the right direction. It's very difficult to get in for bass, so make sure you're completely prepared and mentally ready.

    Larry Wolfe was actually at Eastman today giving a master class. He's a great guy, very funny and personable and an incredible player. He had some good input on the solo works played, but made some especially interesting notes on the orchestral excerpts, specifically Mozart 40. Definitely a good guy to study with if you are interested in going into that type of field.

    Ed Barker is also a stunning player and I've heard a superb teacher, although I've never had a lesson with him.

    I'd have to agree with everyone else in saying that you should hold off on the Bottesini for a few more years. Focus on getting the Dittersdorf and especially the Koussevitzky in check. And I trust you've played the Dragonetti. The Koussevitzky got me well through all my college auditions, it's a great work to have in your arsenal.
  16. reginald


    Oct 1, 2008
    ed's studio is really hard to get into and all of the players there are fantastic and talented, but there are fantastic players and teachers at many schools. i think he averages taking about 2 to 3 a year into his studio.

    what you audition with is a lot less important than how well you play it. ed is not going to care if you can sort-of play bottesini, kous, dragonetti, and all 6 of the cello suites if you can't play one of them really well at that moment, which is all you will have. if you play dragonetti really well, you will be much better off than someone who slops through bottesini or kous, which is mostly what he will hear. oh, and play in tune, not mostly in tune, or sort-of in tune, not within 3 cents of being in tune, i mean every note, no matter how fast or difficult in tune!! he is a bit of a stickler concerning that.
  17. BHurn


    Sep 29, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Thank you guys very much for all of your input. I must say, I wasn't expecting this kind of reply, very excellent. Gotta love the bass player's stickin' together!

    Just to clarify, I finished the Dittersdorf during the Summer of my freshman year, (leading into Sophomore), I plan to work on Koussevitsky for majority of the year. Probably around April I will have it close to perfection, maybe some intonation/musicality issues to clear up. Then by May and leading to junior, I planned to take on the Bottesini. I have the first page down for the most part. But once it starts on the D and ascends, that's where I "left off" I guess you could say.

    Again, Thank you guys.
  18. Bhurn - I know you want to take on the Bottesini as soon as possible, but believe me, from my experience, it would probably benefit you to learn the Vanhal first or maybe the rest of the movements of kouss. I was in the same boat as you when I was a sophomore - I wanted to learn everything as quickly as possible so I could get to Bottesini. That's what I did, and it worked out because I got into a good school, but looking back on it, I wish I would have spent more time on technique and the fundamentals of bass. Now I'm that I'm in college - I'm realizing how much more technique I have to work on cuz I blew it off when I was in high school, not saying that you're blowing off your technique, but I guess what I'm trying to say is take your time now - you still have two years to learn the Bottesini. Believe me, if you try and start the Bottesini when you're going into your junior year, although it might be impressive, you will hate that piece by the time you're auditioning for school. I played it for 5 months before my auditions and I once I finished all my auditions I couldn't stand listening to the piece. Just a thought.

  19. Mitchthebassplayer


    Jan 7, 2008
    Queens, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Olinto, La Bella, JuleAmps, Epifani
    I'm an NYU dropout but I was accepted into BU's program in 2005. I chose not to go, but I auditioned with the marcello sonata in E minor and some other less important things that I can't really remember....from my experiences auditioning at a lot of good schools, they're more impressed with what you can do musically with the piece than just running through concertos like a machine....I beat out a lot of kids who were tearing through these concertos but were ignoring important musical concepts like phrasing and dynamics....focus on one of those pieces and really get into it....a lot of this has to do with maturity which can be hard for an 18 year old (like it was for me) but the faculty will pick up on whether you have that potential or not....I'm sure you'll be fine....plus, there are so many more intense programs than BU your competition shouldn't be that tough
  20. One of Todd Seeber's favorite stories to tell at Tanglewood is of a guy who got into the final round of the BSO auditions playing the Marcello Sonata. The BSO section respected and appreciated this guy's musicality over his desire to choose something perceived as difficult for his solo.

    I had already done all the concertos (minus Tubin and untraditional ones like that) by the time I was a senior, and now I'm trying to decide which one I'm going to use for post-graduate programs in a year or so. I'm pretty sure I'm going to decide on Vanhal. I feel like Bottesini is just too hard to show a lot of musicality in because there's the constant worry about hitting the right notes. Vanhal is a very solid piece that is soloistic in that it requires the soloist to play through a wide range, but at the same time the range is really centered in the "bass" range which I think is kind of nice. I know I'm not being clear, just thinking "out loud."

    Pick a solo piece for your auditions that you like, can be musical with, and isn't too hard for you! You want to be comfortable when you get to your audition.

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