Gilliam’s long road to winning National Symphony post

Posted on: March 11, 2010

In Thursday’s (3/11) Washington Post, Anne Midgette writes, “Jauvon Gilliam, for seven years a timpanist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, really, really wanted to win the vacant timpani position with the National Symphony Orchestra when the opening was announced last year. So he rented a minivan, packed up his drums and drove 26 hours across the country to audition. He got called back and made the drive a second time. To make sure he was mentally prepared, he called up timpanists in major American orchestras along the way and asked if he could play for them. He wanted to get used to playing nervous, in unfamiliar situations. The first two attempts went terribly. The next two went much better. And by the time he got to Washington, he was in great form. He was the orchestra’s unanimous choice for the position. … Gilliam, 30, is playing his first concert with his new orchestra Thursday night, when Christoph Eschenbach, the orchestra’s new music director, makes his first and only appearance with them before taking over this fall.”

Posted March 11, 2010