My hearing journey: Victor Fournelle-Blain, Orchester symphonique de Montréal | To concentrate
I have been in my current position (Associate Viola Principal) since 2016, but have been away for a year and a half to play Viola Principal with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I have also held other positions with the Orchester symphonique de MontrÃ©al before: section viola and second assistant principal viola, one year each. The hearings took place in three rounds, always blind. The trial period was one year each time, even when I was already in the orchestra.
My audition for the Orchester symphonique de MontrÃ©al section was actually my very first viola audition. The only professional audition I had had before was for a solo violin position in a chamber orchestra, which was a tricky storyâ¦ The first piece they requested was a solo movement by Bach; I had chosen the fugue in C major. I had heard that I should expect to be cut in about two minutes – this runaway having lasted ten minutes, I had prepared a good half, to be sure (I thought). Since it’s so long and there’s no pause to turn the pages, I didn’t bother to use the music – I had played it from memory before, but it was a little moment. I like to think that the jurors liked what they heard because they didn’t interrupt me: I played way beyond the part I had prepared, becoming more and more worried. with each sentence, until I have a great memory loss. I tried to get back on track, but they cut me off and, to my surprise, asked for clips. I even moved on to the next round, but I was too restless to play well at that point. Needless to say, I didn’t win this one. I think I can attribute a small part of my success in subsequent auditions to this experience: I swore to myself that I would never get stuck with my pants down like this again!
My advice to musicians who are auditioning would be, in addition to not playing a Bach fugue from memory, I would say: record yourself a lot, and listen critically. I find the outside perspective invaluable, as well as the ability to listen to us without the distractions of the game.
Read: My audition journey: Monique Irik, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
To read: How to avoid oversights?
To read: Flames of glory: Postcard from Montreal
Listen to: The Strad Podcast # 13: Dr. RenÃ©e-Paule Gauthier on Managing Performance Anxiety