Good news from the San Diego Symphony. The orchestra last week began the process of rebuilding itself musically, through auditions to fill key vacancies in the trumpet and French horn sections.
Symphony players and staff cheered the results. One longtime orchestra staffer described the tryouts as "the best turnout we've had in the orchestra's history."
"We had an extremely high level of competition," added principal clarinet David Peck. "We've got two hotshots coming in," Peck said of the winners of the first and second chair trumpet positions.
Warren Gref, fourth chair horn player, was elevated to second chair, and his position was offered to one of those who scored well in the competition for second chair.
"I feel (the auditions are) the most important long-range planning thing that's going on in the orchestra now," said Peck, who also chairs the orchestra committee that negotiates with management. Today's auditions determine who will be playing in the orchestra years from now, he said.
The second chair trumpet winner is principal trumpet for a smaller U.S. orchestra. The winner of the principal position is first chair for an Italian orchestra.
The names of the three other winners could not be released until the players have signed contracts. The new orchestra members are expected to begin playing with the symphony this summer.
More than 100 musicians from across the country auditioned for the four positions. Over the next two weeks, the orchestra will hold tryouts for four of the top violin positions, five viola vacancies and for two violin section vacancies.