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Alumni Spotlight: Oboist Andrew Parker on Cultivating His Inner Musician through Professional Training

In 2008, specially selected wind and brass musicians had the opportunity to participate in a weeklong master class culminating in a public mock audition with some of the most renowned music institutions of our time. Below, participant Andrew Parker, now the University of Iowa's oboe professor, shares his experience. Visit our professional programs page to learn more or apply for this year's workshop for brass and woodwind musicians with the Berlin Philharmonic.

The great sculptor Michelangelo once remarked that he did not shape stone into a figure—he brought out the figure that was already present within. For musicians, it’s also about chipping away at layers of insecurity and fear that obscure our inner selves. It’s important to face our fears and cultivate the freedom of our inner musician. That is exactly what the Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop provided for me in the fall of 2008.

That one week in New York City during a blustery November energized and challenged me in a way that, in retrospect, positively and permanently altered the course of my musical life. I carried very few expectations with me during my travel—other than a very real and potent fear of the culminating event of the workshop: a public mock audition in Weill Recital Hall adjudicated by members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Professional Training Workshop give musicians opportunities to participate in  mock auditions with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra 
Steven Menard, trombonist, participates in mock orchestral auditions led by professional wind and brass musicians. Artists from left to right: Joseph Alessi, principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic; Carol Jantsch, principal tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Philip Smith, principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic; Julie Landsman, principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.   

So many of the activities that week were unforgettably exciting and musically enriching, completely exceeding any expectations I might have had. I remember distinctly the awe and inspiration I felt when watching the Met perform Dr. Atomic. That alone was worth the trip to New York! The workshop also provided tickets for all of us to attend concerts performed by the New York Philharmonic and The Philadelphia Orchestra. In one week, I had the opportunity to observe three of the finest musical ensembles in the world in performance. It was utterly thrilling and allowed for a deepening of my musical sophistication.

 Pedagogically speaking, I learned more in that week than I have in entire years of study and practice. Every day the student musicians, who were all at a very high level, played in sectionals led by some of the finest musicians in the country. Elaine Douvas, Danny Matsukawa, and Michael Parloff all provided masterful training and profound musical insights to a group of eager, dedicated students. In addition to the sectionals, we received individual lessons and daily lunch talks with the artist-faculty members. The lunches provided were exquisite, and the chance to talk more casually with these world-class musicians was invaluable. Julie Landsman, recently retired principal horn of the Met, was particularly engaging. One of the highlights of the week was doing yoga with Julie and her beloved yoga instructor. The workshop attended to our bodies and spirits as well as our musicianship!

I was prepared and fearless … The sense of achievement I felt after the audition sparked the fire of the musical progress I would make for years after.

Due to the quality of the experiences that week, I was prepared and fearless for the public mock audition at the end of the workshop. The sense of achievement I felt after the audition sparked the fire of the musical progress I would make for years after. I had conquered a fear and was forever changed because of it. I am now the oboe professor at the University of Iowa. My experience at the Carnegie Hall workshop was a huge factor in my success in winning a job that I love. I highly recommend applying to the upcoming workshop with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. It’s certain to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Visit our professional programs page to learn more about workshops like this one and to apply for this year's master class with the Berlin Philharmonic. The application deadline is November 1, 2011.

Berlin Philharmonic Master Classes: Mastering Orchestral Repertoire

Carnegie Hall's Professional Training Workshops  

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