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New Orleans: LPO

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by Sam Dingle, Jan 3, 2018.


  1. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    I was made aware that the 3rd or 4th chair has opened up in the Louisiana philharmonic (someone left to take a spot with the Nashvile philharmonic).

    Will there be auditions for the new chair? I'm curious to know how this works
     
  2. ILIA

    ILIA

    Jan 27, 2006
    I think this is what you are talking about. If and when the Louisiana Phil holds an audition for the vacant position, there will be an advert in the usual places, most importantly the AFM's International Musician and the LPO's web site. There is also musicalchairs.info, magnum opus auditions, and auditioncafe, but those three are not as important as IM. Just keep your eyes peeled.
     
    bskts247 likes this.
  3. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Interesting. Would people come from out of town and try to audition or is something like this usually kept local?
     
  4. ILIA

    ILIA

    Jan 27, 2006
    For any full-time orchestra job, people from out-of-town, in addition to the locals, will show up to audition. Since you are from New Orleans, you have probably heard the stories about some of the Louisiana Philharmonic's hiring practices in the dark past where someone who doesn't win a nationally advertised audition gets offered a full-time job. From what I know, that doesn't happen anymore, and hasn't happened in at least a decade, probably longer. So keep your eyes peeled for the audition notice, send a resume when they advertise, confirm your audition spot if you are invited to audition, practice a lot, and then win the audition (the hard part).
     
  5. ILIA has already given the short answer to your questions, but it's an interesting topic for those unfamiliar with hiring and audition practices for professional American orchestras.

    There is a loose, albeit unofficial, hierarchy among orchestras. Broadly speaking, the largest (and better paid) orchestras are part of ICSOM, which is an organization within the larger AFM framework. There is also ROPA, which represents smaller or part time orchestras. Both of these organizations work to negotiate pay and benefits for musicians, as well as providing some basic guidelines for audition procedure. Below that would come non-union orchestras (with some notable exceptions, like Seattle), smaller part-time contracted orchestras, and finally non-professional (and typical unpaid) community orchestras.

    Any full-time (and most part-time) orchestras will hold open auditions for any available position with very few exceptions. Anybody able to legally work in the US can apply, although most orchestras will screen applications either with resumes or a taped round just to keep the number of players within reason. There's usually no "bonus" just for being local, although having friendly contacts on the audition committee might be helpful. Being a regular substitute player is a significant advantage, and some orchestras even auto-advance their subs to semifinal and final rounds.

    For smaller and part-time ensembles, being local is often an unofficial prerequisite. These groups will not pay travel costs for members, so it wouldn't make any financial sense to audition unless you already live in the region.

    I didn't know anything about New Orleans until I started researching this post, and I was surprised to learn the LPO is not a member of ICSOM or ROPA (although the musicians are still members of the AFM). In fact, the LPO is rather unique among large orchestras in that the musicians are the direct owners and shareholders of the entire organization. This is very similar to how my own ensemble functions, but on a much larger scale.

    I have no idea about the LPO's current hiring practices, but that fact means the orchestra could theoretically run auditions more or less however they like. That includes having no audition at all and simply appointing players they like. This option is generally frowned upon by the Union, and has been out of fashion in the US for several decades. From what I can tell, they run auditions more or less like every other ICSOM orchestra. For more specifics, you would have to ask somebody at the LPO (as I slip further into conjecture...).

    As for the "if and when". Unless the LPO currently has financial issues or a hiring freeze, they will probably fill the open seat eventually. But what's the rush? It's become standard practice in many orchestras to hold the seat for the departing member until they've established tenure at their new job (typically one year later). I can't say if the LPO will do that in this case, but I wouldn't be surprised. In the meantime, if you're local, you might consider asking someone at the orchestra about their sub list.
     
  6. csambass

    csambass

    Jul 22, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    The person who left the LPO took a leave of absence for a season and a half. This means, unless he ends his contract before his leave is up, there won't be a spot opening up in the section until Fall of 2019. Which means there won't be an audition for the section spot until quite a ways away.
     
    bskts247 likes this.

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