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Inside the Audition Process

0 March 18, 2019


Navigate to different topics in this panel discussion

March 18, 2019 - 8PM Eastern
James B. Nesbit, Orchestra Personnel Manager, Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Robert Levine, Senior Editor, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

William Amsel, 2nd & Eb Clarinet, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor, Hartford Symphony

In this webinar, we will hear from three orchestra professionals - a personnel manager, a young musician who recently won an audition, and a musician who has served on numerous audition committees. This engaging discussion will provide insight into the process and nature of auditions, where we are today, and where we are headed. We hope you will join us!

James Nesbit is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and a graduate of Duquesne University.  He has been an active performer and contractor in virtually all styles of music on saxophone, clarinet, flute and bassoon. James has appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall and with the Virginia Symphony.  He is currently in his sixth season as Orchestra Personnel Manager for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Robert Levine has been the Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony since September 1987. Before coming to Milwaukee Mr. Levine had been a member of the Orford String Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto, with whom he toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and South America. Prior to joining the Orford Quartet, Mr. Levine had served as Principal Violist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for six years. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, and the Oklahoma City Symphony, as well as serving as guest principal with the orchestras of Indianapolis and Hong Kong. He has performed as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, the Midsummer Mozart Festival (San Francisco), and numerous community orchestras in Northern California and Minnesota. He has also been featured on American Public Radio’s nationally broadcast show “St. Paul Sunday Morning” on several occasions. Mr. Levine has been an active chamber musician, having performed at the Festival Rolandseck in Germany, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Palm Beach Festival, the “Strings in the Mountains” Festival in Colorado, and numerous concerts in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee. He has also been active in the field of new music, having commissioned and premiered works for viola and orchestra from Minnesota composers Janika Vandervelde and Libby Larsen. Mr. Levine was chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians from 1996 to 2002 and currently serves as President of the Milwaukee Musicians Association, Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras. He has written extensively about issues concerning orchestra musicians for publications of ICSOM, the AFM, the Symphony Orchestra Institute, and the League of American Orchestras. Mr. Levine attended Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. His primary teachers were Aaron Sten and Pamela Goldsmith. He also studied with Paul Doctor, Walter Trampler, Bruno Giuranna, and David Abel. He lives with his wife Emily and his son Sam in Glendale.

William Amsel joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as second and e-flat clarinet in the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. He previously held the position of principal clarinet with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and has performed as an extra musician with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and San Antonio Symphony, among many others. Mr. Amsel was twice a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, where he won the Gino B. Cioffi memorial prize, as well as attended the Pacific Music Festival for two summers, was a fellow of the Aspen Music Festival, and was twice a participant in the New York String Orchestra Seminar. A native of Austin, Texas, he received his undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston, and received a master’s degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. His primary teachers were Ricardo Morales and Thomas Martin.

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor at Polyphonic.org, has been a member of the Hartford Symphony viola section for over 30 years.  She is a former Chair of the Orchestra Committee, former member of the HSO Board, and has served on many HSO committees.  She is also the Executive Director of CONCORA (CT Choral Artists), a professional chorus based in Hartford and New Britain, founded by Artistic Director Richard Coffey.  Ann was a member of the Advisory Board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), and was the HSO ROPA delegate for 14 years, serving as both Vice President and President of ROPA.  In addition to playing the viola and running CONCORA, Ann is a professional writer and editor, and has worked as a consultant and technical writer for software companies in a wide variety of industries for over 3 decades.  (She worked for the Yale Computer Science Department in the late 70s, and thus has been on the Internet, then called the DARPAnet, since 1977!)  She is married to Algis Kaupas, a sound recordist, and lives a block from Long Island Sound in Branford, CT.  Together they create websites for musicians: shortbeachwebdesign.com.  Ann holds a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in International Relations from Yale University.

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