The Los Angeles Philharmonic recently held auditions to find a new Principal Cello to replace Peter Stumpf, whose name still appears on their roster as being “On Leave” but who hasn’t been with the orchestra all season. The required repertoire list for the audition included some excerpts that would be expected (Haydn Concerto, Don Quixote, La Mer) and some others that are a bit less expected (Mozart String Quartet, City Noir). After multiple rounds of playing, two players emerged from behind the screen as finalists: Julie Albers and Robert deMaine.
By all accounts, they are two very good cellist. Neither has a prior connection to the orchestra. They both have experience as soloists and chamber musicians.
Despite those similarities, there is one big difference:
- Mr. deMaine has 10 years experience as Principal Cello of the Detroit Symphony
- In contrast, Ms. Albers has not spent any time in the cello section of a professional orchestra, let alone served as a principal.
Detailed biographies, along with audio and video samples, are available at their respective websites (Julie Albers HERE, Robert deMaine HERE)
Both musicians will play trial weeks with the orchestra in the Fall. No dates are set for when those will be, but given that Music Director Gustavo Dudamel needs to be around during the trials, I’m gonna guess that it’ll be sometime during the first three weeks of the season (Sept 27 – Oct 14). In the meantime, here is one video from each of the candidates talking about an iconic cello concerto: Ms. Albers the Schumann, Mr. deMaine the Dvorak
- Julie Albers: Chester Higgins, Jr.
- Robert deMaine: Daniel Lippitt
Why not Ben Hong?
Not sure. Don’t know if he auditioned. Do you?
Auditions are not a public event and so that question should be directed to Ben Hong himself only.
A more legitimate question would be “Why those two are the winners?”, and the answer should always be the same: “Because on the basis of what the Audition Panel and the Music Director heard during THIS audition, they have decided that this musician has (or these two musicians have) the best chance of filling THIS vacancy among all those who auditioned.”.
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