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Chicago Orchestras! Help

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by tenorbass, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. tenorbass


    May 8, 2005
    Hey guys, I live in Chicago and I have some questions about the orchestra's in this area.

    I want to know what the salary is like for the orchestras in Chicago . I am trying out for CYSO but to my knowledge they dont pay correct? What about civic (im going to try out after college) or CSO?

    Any info would be great.
  2. bassman1489


    Jun 11, 2006
    I'd say just go for the CSO. You might want to wait a few months though, you need time to improve from only being good enough for Curtis.
  3. tenorbass


    May 8, 2005
    im not applying for curtis for another 3 years. I believe I said that in my posts... UNT might be a better fit for me. I really like Jeff Bradetich's playing.
  4. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), which consists of members from the 51 "major" US orchestras, publishes (or did publish) a survey listing the base (not bass) salaries in each of its member orchestras. I can not find this survey on the new web-site, www.icsom.org, but someone else might know where to look. There may be something similar for the ROPA players.

    If I remember correctly, the CSO and its musicians recently signed a new contract and that the current base salary is around $130,000 per year, with additional compensation for principal, solo, recording and other work.

    You may wish to look at the CSO's web-site, www.cso.org, for more information. Check out the bass player biographies to get some idea of where they came from and their qualifications. Also note the length of tenure - vacancies do not occur often. When they do, the competition is intense.
  5. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    Thanks Cory. There's a lot of useful information there, much more than was available in the old listing that I saw some years ago. Note that there were two DB players and a cellist on the negotiating committee - lots of heavy lumber. Jimmy would be proud.
  6. koricancowboy

    koricancowboy Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Tenor bass, to answer your questions about the CSO and Civic. Yes the CSO pays but I think 95 was the last time they had an opening. This as good an orchestra as any in the world, as such the best players in the world audition. The current section will probably be there until they retire but, one never knows. As far as civic goes it pays a small stipend , about 6,500 a year or graduate fellowships at Northwestern Depaul, Roosevelt or Northern but it is a training orchestra and as such you can not make a career out of it as I think you can only be in it for 2 or 3 years. Really if you are trying out for CYSO right now I wouldn't concern yourself about any of this. Get through college first and then welcome yourself to the world of orchestral auditions. 35 - 50 full time openings a year and like 10,000 applicants. I'd enjoy playing now before you have to deal with all that crap. YMMV.

  7. I think both of those numbers are outrageously high. In the United States, there are generally between about 3 and 10 full time openings a year. As for the competition, even the biggest jobs don't see more than a few hundred applications. These are still ridiculously bad odds, but not as silly as 35 in 10,000. I'm not sure there are even 10,000 bassists in the world.
  8. I don't live in the area, but I'm thinking there must be a lot of smaller community-type orchestras in "Chicagoland" and the surrounding suburbs that hire ringers.

    possible list: Park Ridge, Elmhurst, Evanston, Kishwaukee, and even further north; Beloit, Kenosha.
  9. koricancowboy

    koricancowboy Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Sometimes to prove a point people use something called exaggeration. For example:
  10. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA

    Yeah but that actually does seem like it could be a reasonable number. If you're talking in trained double bassists, I could see that being a reasonable ballpark. maybe? possibly?
  11. ISB claims 3,000 members. I'm sure the majority of the bassists in the world are not members of ISB, but how many could there possibly be? It's an incredibly esoteric hobby, and a downright absurd profession. Given the cost of initial investment and the amount of time it takes to learn, could we really be talking about more than 10 or 15 thousand people?

    Considering that the subject of this thread was to find out if the Chicago Symphony pays enough for a high schooler to be willing to audition for them, I think any discussion of exaggeration is out of the question.
  12. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Paul there are probably more like 30-50k bassists in the world. at least. Most of the bassists I know are NOT ISB members.Lets say 5% are members so .....
  13. koricancowboy

    koricancowboy Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    When factoring in hobbyists I would say the numbers jump to well over 15K. Especially thinking about the jazz and folk music styles that use it. I'd be inclined to say even G-force's estimate is still quite small.

    It seems you take life a tad more serious than I. I saw the obvious naivete in the question of an obvious young person and thought it appropriate to answer in a way that exposed the truth behind his question. In addition I hoped to elicit an awareness of the absurdity in his original inquiry without squelching his hopes of someday winning auditions for both Curtis and the CSO, which is highly possible. Neither you or I have any clue about the ability or history of OP. BTW I know a high schooler who won an audition last year for civic. Remembering not everything you read is an absolute truth is a valuable lesson to remember.

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