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Washington DC area Orchestras

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by sdjbass, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. sdjbass


    Mar 11, 2003
    Greensboro, NC
    Hello all,
    I am brand new to this site as a member,(i've been before looking for pick-ups) I'm currently 17 and have been playing upright for 7 or 8 years, since 4th grade. but my question is, i'm currently a member of the American Youth Philharmonic, which is probally the most prestigious youth orchestra in america, if not the world. But i was wondering if anyone knew of any orchestra that PAY in the washington area that are looking for basses. If you do that would help alot, i can play anything, and the only thing holding me back from greatness is my lack of practicing.

  2. I don't think many PROFESSIONAL orchestras hire high school students. I won't post the 200 million reasons why, but PM me if you're curious.

    If you want experience playing with older musicians, try joining a community orchestra. If you just need cash, I'd recommend asking around trying to get gigs. Playing a high school or college musical, or perhaps playing a requiem with a church or college choir is a good way to make an easy $50-$200. And the people who run these gigs are often desperate enough to hire people your (read: my) age.

    Maybe your teacher gets asked to do these things, and can give you the gigs he/she can't make?

    Worked for me.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think that applies to many of us - if not all!! ;)
  4. Hell, I'm having that put on my tombstone.
  5. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Here is the REAL DEAL

    If you want to get a job in a major symphony, a Class A symphony, you need a minimum of a MA (Masters of Arts in Preformance) in your instrument.

    To get invited to an audition you will need a resume and with out the Masters you wont get the invite.

    There are execptions the Chicago SO has open auditions.

    Positions don't open up that often, generaly once a player gets a seat in the section they stay there for years and years.

    You can check with the Union and they can tell you how many orchestra seats came open in symphonys in the past year.

    The Union is a fact of life if you are in a symphony, opera company, or a musical show.

    And, just because there is an open seat does not mean they will hire someone, the principle position for the SFO has been open for a good while and the conductor has not found anyone he likes yet.

    There is a lot of BS associated with getting in an orchestra but it is a good life if you can pull it off.

    Good luck get yourself in colledge work hard and practice then you might beable to play some things right.

    Also, the sound of your bass makes a diffrence, You can make a bet that the heavy hitters in the bass sections of major symphonies basses cost at least $30,000.00 I would guess more. Dr. Mark Morton says if he did not have his two basses he could have two Porches sitting in the barn.

  6. Anita Bass

    Anita Bass Guest

    Feb 16, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I am also 17 and have a serious cash flow problem. I have started volunteering for organizations where I can meet other bassists. It's a great way to meet people in the music community that could potentially help with future jobs plus I get the volunteer hours needed that will look good on college applications. If you can't play for pay in the symphony, volunteer and enjoy the performance.
  7. Bubbabass


    May 5, 2004
    There are some very good part time orchestras in the DC area populated with serious players who have studied with major teachers. The level of free lance playing is on a par with many major orchestras. You should call the Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax symphonies, and ask to audition for any vacancies or their sub list. You might also try the McLean and Mount Vernon orchestras. It is good to hear the other players--you will know right away if you can compete, or head to the 'shed.

    All of us who earn a living at this have spent years (usually undergrad and grad school) practicing, playing, and rehearsing for a total of 6-10 hours daily to get competetive. Joe Taylor is correct, and it helps to be the protege of a major teacher. Doors open up on the basis of this.

    Jamesdotcom's reply sounds like the thing to do right now.

    Good Luck!
  8. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    At your age I started to get a lot of gigs playing musicals, and I got a hotel lounge gig 2 nights a week from a solo pianist who wanted to expand into a trio (there's a joke there somewhere). Don't worry about what kind of music it is, just get anything that pays. It's all music and it all develops bass skills. I also did (still do) weddings and parties as a duet with a violist/violinist. A classical duet or trio is a good avenue to learn chamber music and puts you in contact with a lot of churches who may later engage you for their special event contract orchestras. There is not a whole lot of chamber music for small ensembles including bass so get creative with cello parts. Also don't forget full concert wind ensembles virtually always use one double bass (sometimes 2) so hit them up for a gig. The continual repertoire of marches can get a little boring after a while but it pays to learn to read an octave up (most of the bass parts are just read from tuba parts) so it's another good skill to add to your bag of tricks.

  9. MKoby


    Jul 14, 2004
    MD/Metro DC
    The best of luck for a paying gig in DC.
    There are many top players in D.C. area.

    I play in a community orchestra (JCCSO) that occasionally hires a subs. They are PRO'S with at least masters in performance.

    In my section, principal Ph.D. performance, assistant principal masters, third chair only B.M. (Julliard, former faculty at same)

    The other bass player and I are adult students of George Vance.

    In the past, a fine highschooler, now at Carnagie-Mellon,
    was in the section. He also played with AYP.

    You can have fun and good experience playing in one of the community orchestras from Bubbabass's post too.

    You'll play some of the repetoire, work with some fine conductors and soloists and see where you stand musically.

    But you'll not likely make any money playing for these orchestras. Might meet folks to connect with though.

    Blessings to you.

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