NY Phil Audition Challenge: Weeks 8 & 7

Now the real work begins.

Over the past few weeks, I've been all over the place. I posted my last entry from the car as we drove across Oklahoma (I think). I went to Burning Man, visited the country's smallest town, spent one night in Vegas, went through Fundamentalist Mormon country and was warned to just keep driving, saw the Grand Canyon, Marble Canyon, the Petrified Forest, Petroglyph National Monument, the Painted Desert, stayed in a Navajo-run motel, heard cows lamenting their imminent deaths in Oklahoma, visited the WalMart museum in Benton, AR (possibly a creepier atmosphere than the Mormon enclave), wandered around Branson and wondered why people visit, and drove through one of the year's last big summer thunderstorms to get back to Chicago.

But yeah. Pretty much none of that involved playing my instrument.

Now, I’m back from vacation. I’m starting to get music for my actual jobs. Seasons are starting. People are starting to expect things from me in real life, not just on the internet.

Oh, and the Indianapolis audition. That’s six weeks away.

On one hand, gigs starting again in earnest is nice in that I’ll have money again. I’m also excited to start my two (TWO!) new positions in Iowa and Kentucky. (I won Iowa back in June, before I started writing here.) I’ve been playing in professional orchestras for about ten years, and I was principal in Civic, but combining the two feels wholly new. I’m supposed to send in bowings, like, now, but I’m a little intimidated—I don’t want to do a crappy job and have to be changing a bunch of bowings during the first rehearsal. That’s a terrible first impression to make. And so is not knowing the music inside and out, so I’ve been haphazardly attacking three full-length programs in the past week, on top of the Challenge and my audition repertoire. Seriously, Brahms 4, Beethoven 6, Beethoven 7, Mendelssohn 4, Tchaik 4, AND ALL THE OVERTURES AND CONCERTOS THAT GO WITH THEM. Why did it all have to appear in my mailbox at once???

This little episode brought to you by Erin’s Professional Anxiety(TM).


It’s taken me a little time to get back on track, with coming back to so much reality all at once, so I’ve combined week 8 and week 7 in today’s video. (Also, my iMovie kept cutting off during recording because of "dropped frames." If anyone knows what the hell that means or how to prevent it, PLEASE enlighten me, because I had to do each of these excerpts about five times over before getting a full take.)

In the video:

  • Mahler 10 (0:00) - The first requirement for week 8. I had already attempted several full run-throughs, so I don't actually remember this run specifically. I made the big shift in the middle, though, I'm pretty sure...?
  • Mozart 35 (0:51) - The second requirement for week 8. At this point, I was so frustrated with the video cutting out that I turned toward the computer and just stared it down. It might be creepy to watch, but it did make it through this take.
  • Brahms 4 (1:48) - The only requirement for week 7! This one was a challenge because, well, Brahms is always hard for me. The style is intimidating—it's big and Romantic with a capital R, but it's also elegant and never overwrought, and the rhythm has to be precise and strict without ever feeling rigid. It's really, really hard to find the right balance. (Plus, the fast notes are hard.) Nathan Cole's video on this excerpt was very helpful in guiding my phrasing, but I definitely have a ways to go before this one's audition-ready.

I'll be back later in the week with week 6, and then we should be back on schedule!