St. Louis Symphony’s careful selection process in filling key spots in orchestra

Posted on: November 13, 2012

In Sunday’s (11/11) St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), Sarah Bryan Miller writes, “Listening to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, you wouldn’t know that anyone was missing from the ensemble: It’s one of the world’s great orchestras, and it sounds like it. Looking at the roster, though, it’s hard not to be struck by the sea of asterisks that presents itself: single asterisks for vacant chairs (six principal and associate principal positions), double asterisks for replacements (11 of them) and triple asterisks for those on leave of absence (four musicians are out for the year, and perhaps permanently). Some of those chairs have been open for what seems like a long time: principal trumpet, principal keyboards, piccolo. One of them has been filled: New principal viola Beth Guterman Chu will join the SLSO in January. She delayed her start here because she had a baby in August.” In the article, orchestra personnel manager Beth Paine estimates at least eight months to complete an audition process, but, notes president and CEO Fred Bronstein, openings don’t always get filled the first time around. “Susan Slaughter was the SLSO’s principal trumpet for four decades before retiring in 2010; after several sets of auditions, her chair has yet to be filled. ‘It is really a key position in the orchestra,’ Bronstein says. ‘Susan was an icon. Those are big shoes to fill. And her sound was, in many ways, the sound of the St. Louis Symphony.’ ”

Posted November 13, 2012