Auditions: what Theresians think of them

By Emilia Campagna

May 21, 2024

A new round of auditions is coming up: we are looking for musicians who play violin, viola, cello, double bass, oboe, bassoon and horn, and we are offering each of them a grant worth of 3,500 euros, which will cover the activities of our Learning Program and participation in five orchestral residencies between August 2024 and January 2026. The auditions take place in Antwerp on July 8-10 and are organised in collaboration with AMUZ, a major venue for early music in Flanders. The deadline for applications is Monday 3 June and you can submit your application here!

We have often told you about our auditions, detailing their unique features and explaining why we believe they offer an exceptional opportunity for personal growth. Today we want to let those who have experienced our auditions firsthand speak for themselves. We have gathered comments from some of our recent Theresians to give you their perspective.

The importance of being auditioned

Auditions are crucial part of a young musician’s journey toward gaining professional experience. Our violinist Lorenzo Molinetti had already participated in several: “Before I auditioned for Theresia, I had done about five or six auditions. I auditioned mainly for symphony orchestra academies, always made it to the finals, but never got the real job….. Pretty frustrating!” Auditions can be not only frustrating but also impersonal, as was the case for Maddalena Bortot, who before Theresia had only attended auditions that consisted of video presentations.

A welcoming environment

Theresia’s auditions are not designed as individual, high-pressure hearings (like the “do or die” variety), but rather as an extended period during which the board of examiners can get to know the candidates. And because we know that tension can run high in front of a jury, we opted for a format that allows us to observe the musicians truly “at work” rather than just in a solo performance.

But back to our Theresians – let’s hear what they tell us about their experiences:

What were your expectations?

lorenzo-molinettiLorenzo Molinetti: “I am also a EUBO member, so I was expecting that very nice and welcoming environment that I encountered during my previous ICONS audition. I had never played classical repertoire on my baroque instrument before, so I had no idea of how my instrument (and my hands) would have reacted. That was something that was both exciting and frightening, especially because I had to perform very new repertoire in front of such an important panel of musicians and experts.

What are the challenges you had to go through?

Maddalena Bortot: I first had to learn a Beethoven quartet (plus both violin parts), which was a completely different approach to playing a series of orchestral passages. In addition, the real challenge was to play with complete strangers, musicians from all over the world, communicating in a language that we all use, English, which may not be the first language for everyone: because to put a quartet together you have to talk as well as play! Finally, I also played in different ensembles, one day the first violin part, the next day the second violin part. It was really two days of full immersion!”

What did you like most about auditioning for Theresia?

Lorenzo Molinetti: “I loved the repertoire and the different interactions I managed (and was asked) to create with the other aspiring candidates. To be able to play a lot of music and for a lot of time is really something amazing for an orchestra audition, where usually five minutes of playing (or even less) determine the outcome of the whole process. Auditioning for Theresia felt like giving proper recognition to all the work I put into the preparation of the piece beforehand.”

Maddalena Bortot: “For me, it was particularly inspiring because I am still a newcomer to performing on historical instruments and it is not so common for me to have the opportunity to hear so many other young musicians live, with their different experiences and sensibilities.

Do you have suggestions for improving the format of our auditions?

Lorenzo Molinetti: “It was very nice to be able to interact and develop a piece with input and ideas from the other candidates, and we were lucky to play in front of such esteemed jurors. We really had the chance to respond to their feedback, observe our responsiveness, and receive some really valuable guidance and suggestions. All this did happen to a some extent, but I would have liked even more of it!”

If you would like to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to showcase your musical skills as a performer of classical repertoire on period instruments, Theresia’s auditions are for you! Don’t miss this chance!

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About Emilia Campagna

Journalist and musician, Emilia is a blogger for Theresia