The Next Best Thing To Performing In An Orchestra – Grant Johnson | Ep. 72

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This week on the podcast, we have a different kind of interview. Technically it can be considered a part of the “Winning the Job” series, but instead of a musician in the orchestra, we get to learn about what it’s like to audition for and win a job as an orchestral librarian. Grant Johnson recently won a position as assistant librarian with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and it was really great to be able to sit down with him and learn about his audition process. Here are some takeaways from his episode:

How Much Do You Know?

One thing that surprised me – although it shouldn’t have – was finding out how much knowledge about the orchestra and orchestral literature librarians need to know for their auditions. The example Grant gave was that he needed to know the names of all of the instruments in the orchestra in French, Italian, and German. To me, that’s impressive, considering I can barely remember the names of my own instrument in those languages.

Intense Is An Understatement

Learning how much work goes into preparing the music for an orchestral season was humbling. Even for the most detail oriented person, the pressure is on when you’re responsible for providing parts for musicians that are accurate so they can perform at their best with minimal time to prepare. Grant describes his version of successful preparation as having all the rehearsals and concerts go smoothly because the parts are so well prepared.

Dream Come True

For someone who loves orchestral music, being an orchestral librarian is about as good as it can get without actually playing in the orchestra. Being able to be an integral part of the success of the organization, hearing rehearsals and concerts all year long, and knowing that your work has meaning (whether it’s acknowledged or not) shows that dreams of a career in orchestral music can take many forms.


I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it. Don’t forget to share this on social media so others can find it and hear the episode as well. Thank you so much for listening. Stay strong, be kind to yourself, and never stop growing.

Until next time,

Ryan


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