Artful Timpani Auditioning

All In-Person Events for Summer 2021 Are Cancelled Due To Covid-19 and the Ongoing Met Furlough. Please Check Back Soon For Updates Regarding Online Events…and Stay Safe and Healthy!

The Artful Timpani Auditioning Seminar (ATAS) cultivates applied auditioning skills for timpanists. We have formulated ATAS around the reality that auditioning is a vital skill set for all instrumental musicians, regardless of career path intention. Ambitious timpanists will necessarily find themselves in high pressure audition situations throughout their careers, whether for a youth orchestra, undergraduate conservatory, summer festival, graduate program, regional orchestra, or a full-time professional orchestra. This process places unique demands on timpanists as a subset of the broader community, and we will leverage the singular locus of timpani-auditioning expertise afforded by the New York timpani community.

The weeklong seminar is built around a full-fledged multi-round mock audition. The audition is blind for all rounds, with a screen setup in the audience to shield the players from view of the committee. We also setup a second screen to provide an area for all attendees to listen to all rounds of the audition. (It’s as if the the “green room” is in the hall, and you only leave the “green room” to go to the warmup room, and then to be “on deck.”) In this way, all participants get to hear everyone else, keep their own notes, and compare them to the “official jury.” Anyone from prelims who does not advance to semis will join in the audience to listen to the subsequent rounds. They will be expected to keep their own comments, and an “attendee score” will be separately tallied for semi finalists and finalists. Likewise, anyone from semis who does not advance to finals will join the audience to listen to finals, and keep score.

Attendees will all perform on the same timpani (Adams Dresden Classics), and perform the same excerpts (list TBD). All audition rounds will be recorded in high-quality audio and video, and attendees’ individual portions will be made available to them post-seminar. Video will be close-up for the player’s benefit; audio will be captured by a separate Zoom H4n recorder 80-100’ from the timpani.

Students will receive at least 30 minutes of masterclass time playing timpani excerpts ahead of time. (Attendees will also be expected to perform in excerpt masterclasses.) Augmenting this will be presentations by Jason Haaheim and guest timpanists (Parker Lee and Steven White), where the guest timpanists will also serve as jury members for the mock audition.

Workshopping sessions include a blind “timpani cage match” with different types of drums and heads. We then extend this to a blind “mallet cage match,” where attendees submit their preferred sticks and hear them behind the screen in a multi-round mallet audition.

Finally, attendees will be treated to a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera, including a chance to play timpani in the pit and listen from the audience.

find out more about Artful’s companion:
the Northland Timpani Summit

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