The Art of the Audition

Auditioning amateur choristers – The conductor’s side of things Auditioning singers seems to be part of my karma. I audition singers for my amateur choirs, for my professional ensemble, as soloists, and for the Cirque du Soleil – as an Artistic Talent Scout for both new and existing productions. It is interesting to see what all auditions have in common, but also what changes from one audition to the next. In this blog post, I will describe how I proceed to audition amateur choristers. Know your group. The choristers who will sing in an ensemble are the ingredients for an overall musical and social recipe. Their level is a starting point: choristers will learn and evolve in time. But we all know that a good recipe needs good ingredients. (And we all know that a bad chef can mess up good ingredients, too!!!) I find that it is of critical importance to know the organisation you work for. Where are … Read More

Book Review: Prescriptions for Choral Excellence

Prescriptions for Choral Excellence Shirlee Emmons Constance Chase Oxford, 2006   I bought this book in 2011 and it was first published in 2006. It has been my companion since then, a bit like this friend that is a little intense, with whom you have great discussions, but you would not like to hang out with he or she every day, because of his intensity and lack of lighteness. Nevertheless, the friendship is worthwile, because rich, deep, meaningful, bringing you in a new place with your art.   The book strives to cover many aspects of the work of a choral conductor, dealing with vocal technique applied to choirs, (Breath, diction, colour, to summarize), leadership theories, goal setting for the ensemble and the conductor, mental skills (memorization, self-talk, imagery, planning) and then  smaller general topics, as vocal health for singers, accompanist, relationship to individual singers.   The book, that could have a light and more welcoming style, is organized systematically … Read More