Audition season for graduate music programs is a crucial time for music school seniors. Applications open around September, pre-screening videos are due by December 1st, live audition invitations are sent later that month or in January, and auditions typically occur throughout February or March. My virtual live auditions were mostly in February, but this past weekend, I completed the last audition of my season, for the Curtis Institute of Music opera program.
The pianist I had been working with for my other auditions was away coaching an in-person opera in St. Louis, so I worked with trusted Lyric Theatre @ Illinois accompanist, Dr. Mike McAndrew, and we completed the audition in his church. This is a celebratory time for Mike, who recently defended his dissertation, earning him the coveted title of Doctor of Musical Arts! Anyone familiar with Mike’s impeccable musicianship and commitment to the art knows how worthy he is of this title, and how hard he has worked to earn it. It was a pleasure preparing and performing my audition with the newly-minted Dr. McAndrew!
This audition involved a soundcheck on Zoom, during which Mike and I performed an excerpt and adjusted Zoom settings accordingly. Luckily, I am quite familiar with the Zoom settings required for optimal audition sound, so this went quite smoothly. The soundcheck portion was running about an hour behind, so, like many audition scenarios, there was a lot of waiting involved! Luckily, the audition itself was right on time. I was greeted by the Curtis coordinator of voice, Eric Owens, who is also a world-renowned bass-baritone. I have seen him perform on the Chicago Lyric Opera stage, so it was somewhat surreal to see him on Zoom. I communicated directly with Owens, and after I performed my Mozart aria and listed my other repertoire, he chose to hear “Bella siccome un angelo” from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. This was my first audition that required five arias, and I had not sung this in an audition before, but it went well and I was happy with my audition performance. It’s possible that I may have a final round next week, but this likely will conclude a unique but inspiring audition season. I am grateful to everyone who helped me through this process, and I am excited to hear more results over the next two weeks!