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Strings orchestra commentary Mark O’Connor Fiddle

  • String Section: What is the Future for String Players?

    Mike Lawson | August 15, 2013

    These days, the only viable professional outlet for most classical string players is the symphony orchestra.

    Why is that? Why, after years or even decades of musical training, are classical string students afforded basically one job option aside from teaching?

    Granted, the job market is challenging in most sectors, but the field of orchestral strings is perhaps one of the most competitive out there. There are way too many qualified string players relative to the number of available symphony orchestra spots. Case in point: The Chicago Lyric Opera recently held auditions for its principal viola position. More than 150 world-class violists (not violinists – violists) were granted the opportunity to audition. None of them was selected. The Opera instead promoted a current member of the orchestra to the principal seat. So, where do those 150 violists go? What option do they have other than simply changing careers? I know far too many wonderfully talented players facing this very problem.

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