I’ve been reading audition ads in the International Musician for a long time now, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that caused me to scratch my head quite as hard as the one placed by the Philadelphia Orchestra in the September 2009 issue of the IM for “Viola Substitute Pool.”
I’ve seen ads in Local newsletters for sub auditions, of course – but why in the IM, and why for just violas? Don’t they have a violin substitute pool, and a cello substitute pool, and a few other substitute pools as well, that need refilling? Have the violists been kicked out of every other pool in Philly? Or maybe it’s just a very elaborate viola joke.
There were a couple of other ads that had interesting aspects. The ad for the Malaysian Philharmonic listed enough openings listed that it was reminiscent of the famous (and no doubt apocryphal) ad that began “Established string quartet seeking to hire two violinists and cellist.” The SPCO advertised for a rotating violinist; isn’t playing the violin standing still hard enough? And I didn’t know the New York Phil had a “principal Wagner tuba” position, although it’s also the associate principal horn job. I’ll have to figure out an additional title for our assistant principal viola job; perhaps “head viola pool cleaner” would be an attractive opening for some ambitious young multi-tasker.