Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Fifth Strike

I'm in Cologne, Germany right now. Yes, doing my break from the Finnish autumn. Yesterday I was in Liège, Belgium (Lüttich in German) and had an audition for a post in an orchestra. Well, not an actual position, but they were looking for a pianist, since they plan to play much 20th century program; and mostly hard works, such as Berio's sinfonia and Ives' central park in the dark. Yes, they have a name: Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège. Out of 35(!) applicants, 13 finally appeared, and 5 of us -including myself- passed to the 2nd and final round. For some reasons, they decided to choose 2 pianists, who obviously are going to share the gigs. The first one is a local young man; local as in born in Liège, studied there and in Brussels - while still living there. The other one is an Israeli lady from Brussels. I am not going to go into details about the performances, not only because I didn't listen to them, but also because at the end of the day it's all a matter of taste; and of course if you don't have your day, as I didn't yesterday, then they have a reason not to pick you up. However, there are some plain important facts, and I would like to share my thoughts with you. Both the city and the orchestra seem to be in rather poor financial conditions (a member of the orchestra confirmed these impressions of mine after the audition, and she referred as well generally on Belgian orchestras). So, the orchestra probably cannot afford the best available pianist in the market right now, since it is more likely that this person won't be from the neighborhood. Which means, extra travel and hotel expenses for the orchestra, I guess. But they still decided to have an international audition. Furthermore, there is this young man over there, right under their nose. Don't people usually talk about skillful young artists, especially in small cities? Didn't anyone bother to first listen and then have a go with this young man? Rhetoric questions. Unfortunately, nowadays professional musicians don't have time to listen to their colleagues. And this is fine with me, but not when you run a cultural organisation and you are responsible for it... Anyway, something good might come out of this for me. Maybe a phone call later. That was a comment by the same member of the orchestra. So, tomorrow I'll try -if I find a ticket- to listen (yes, I do enjoy going to concerts!) the Saint-Petersburg Symphony Orchestra under Al. Dmitriev in a long program incl. Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Friday back to Helsinki. One week to go. Oh yes, the title: it was the fifth job I tried to get since last spring. Cheers

buzz it!

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