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Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by ekspain, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. ekspain


    Feb 22, 2008
    Dear Patrick

    Just a question, not based on technique or anything! (for once!!!)

    I was wondering, really, what the responsibilities of the co-principle are in a bass section. This may sound pretty green, and perhaps it is. I've been a tutti player in a decent European orchestra for a few seasons and am thinking about auditioning for another position which happens to be a co-principle position, but I'd like to know what the real differences are between the two positions. Clearly there is more responsibility, but at the same time, its not a principle position. Perhaps a better way to put it is, what are the responsibility differences between co-principle and principle?

    Thanks!!! Best regards!
  2. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    Generally a Co-principal is expected to be able to fill-in with the same consistency and quality as a Principal, in the case that the Principal cannot perform his/her duties or has been asked away. A lot of orchestras, especially in Europe it seems, have two orchestras functioning differently, such as the Paris Opera where there is a chamber group that does stage concerts, and the full opera orchestra that is in the pit. In this case there are two principals (or "soloists"), on leading the bass section of each of the split orchestra. In the USA, a co-principal is not as common as an Assistant Principal. An assistant's duties are similar to a co-principal: he or she must perform the principal duties at times when the principal cannot. But an assistant is also expected to carry the "lead" of the principal to the rest of the section (as does a co-principal). One thing that truly separates the co-principal position from the assistant position is the amount of pay. Usually the co-principal gets very close to the same salary as the principal. An assistant rarely gets that much, but still more than the section players. So, it is financially better to play co than assist. Basically, the co-prin is the same as principal, with duties being expected when the principal is not available.
    GOOD LUCK! :)
  3. ekspain


    Feb 22, 2008
    Thanks Patrick!!!

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