Weekend Report

Here’s a brief report from my busy weekend. The Shreveport Symphony rehearsals and concert went very well, including the 3rd horn solos in the Academic Festival Overture by Brahms. The other pieces on the program – Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 – weren’t as involved for the 3rd horn but still very enjoyable to play. Bravo to Tom Hundemer and Kristine Coreil (1st and 2nd horn on this concert) for their marvelous trills in the final movement of the Dvořák. The conductor asked them to play bells-up during the final statement of the trill passage, which probably wasn’t any louder but was an impressive visual effect for the audience. Soloist Vadim Gluzman gave an exquisite performance of the Bruch, which also had some very nice horn writing in all three movements. I couldn’t help thinking of Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie during the second movement – see for yourself (skip to 2:30 and 6:08 for the best examples). There are also some good horn solos in his Scottish Fantasy, and as a horn player I really wish Bruch had written a horn concerto!  There are some more fun concerts coming up for me in the next few weeks, and I’ll be posting updates about the repertoire for those programs.

On Sunday, the SSO held an audition for 2nd and 4th horn, and I was fortunate enough to win the 4th horn spot. I’ve subbed with this very fine orchestra numerous times in the past, and I’m really looking forward to performing with them as a regular member. Congratulations to Adam Black, who won the 2nd horn position. Adam is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA, where he studied with Dr. Kristine Coreil (regular 3rd horn in the SSO). Adam is currently a student of Randy Gardner at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Well done Adam!

For those who might be curious, you can check out the excerpt list here: SSO Horn Audition List

In preparing for this audition I spent a large part of my time working out of Randy Gardner’s book Mastering the Horn’s Low Register He covers most of the major excerpts that appear on low horn auditions, and provides suggestions and helpful exercises for perfecting each one. For the first several weeks of preparation I spent more time on the exercises than on the actual excerpts, which I think paid off in the long run. Constant practice with a metronome and a drone helped solidify rhythm and intonation. As the audition date got closer I practiced playing through the entire list, using flashcards to put things in a random order. Recording myself on several excerpts also helped provide some feedback. Another resource I used quite a bit in the last couple of weeks before the audition was Eli Epstein’s new book Horn Playing from the Inside Out.  His thoughts on auditions, dealing with performance anxiety, and numerous other topics were both practical and inspirational. A more extensive review of this book is forthcoming, I promise!

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Congratulations, Dr. Boldin! I was wondering if, in the future, you might go in to a little bit more detail in an article on your audition preparation. I’d be particularly interested in how you approached an audition like that, particularly how long you prepared, any psychological insights, and the like. Congratulations again, and thanks for continuing to post interesting articles.

Thanks Dr. Boldin! There are a lot of great resources out there, but it’s also nice to hear from someone who’s “in the trenches” so to speak. I look forward to reading the notes from the Vermeulen masterclass as well. Thanks!

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