Preparation for an orchestral life

Hello Mr. Friedland,

Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge via this wonderful website, which kept me up until 4am reading the other night!

I have a two part question for you; the first one is about auditions. You had mentioned in a prior post that clarinetists intending to pursue an orchestral career should take every audition possible. My question to you is, at what point is a clarinetist ready to begin auditioning? Also, should one start out with small, regional orchestra and work up, or also take major auditions, such as the upcoming BSO audition?

Secondly, there is an orchestral clarinetist I am extremely interested in studying with, however his schedule is so busy that he rarely takes students outside of the conservatories he teaches at. Since I already have a B.M and a Masters (in an unrelated field), I don’t have a desire to go back to music school. I have considered writing him a short note requesting a lesson and submitting a CD of my playing for consideration, but I am not sure if this is in bad taste. What are your thoughts on this matter?

Thank you for your time,


Hello Lynn:
Thank you for your note and for the compliment.
In taking auditions, here is a list of works that you need to know for a very basic audition:
Clarinet parts to:
All Mozart Symphonies
All Beethoven Symphonies,
All Brahms Symphonies
the Two Brahms Serenades
The Mozart Concerto
The Stravinsky Ballets
The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra
The Miraculous Manadrin(Bartok)
Mathis der Mahler, Paul Hindemith
The Coplands Ballets
The Copland Clarinet Concerto
The Beethoven Piano Concertos
The Mozart Concertos, all having a clarinet(s)
Ravel Ballets,Suites for Orchestra
Kodaly: Galanta Dances
Hary Janos Suite
Tchaikovsky Symphonies , all, and all of the Ballets, including Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty ,all of them. They are filled with exposed clarinet parts.
Mendelssohn: All Symphonies, especially 3,4,5, and the Music from the Midsummers Night Dream
Berlioz Symphony Fantastique

This a basic and somewhat partial list of works that you should know prior to talking any audition for an orchestra job.

You should be aware that many orchestras simply will not alow you to audition if you have no pertinent experience, the BSO being such an orchestra .

If you are interested in studying with someone in great demand, definitely write to him an send him (or her) a CD of your playing. It is not considered bad tasteat all, and whomever you are writing will take great pride in reciving such an accolade.

Even better, try to call him. You will find out a lot by a few minutes conversation and I know that he will appreciate hearing you play.

Finally, starting small is a terrific idea, but remember that you must have at least of what I mention within your playing capabilities. That is the way the business is these day.

Good luck in all of your work,
best wishes,


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