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Auditioning for the Swedish Radio Symphony

In April I started to get ready for the co-principal audition for the Swedish Radio Symphony in Stockholm. I took lessons with David Waters and John McCroskey of the Houston Symphony, and Mike Warney of the HGO and Houston Ballet. I tried to record myself most days, some I thought sounded pretty decent, other days were not that good!

The whole Hultén family left for Sweden on May 26, and we had three wonderful weeks with my and Tina’s families.

May 31 I went to the Berwald Hall in Stockholm and played the audition list for Göran Brink, 2nd trombone of the Swedish Radio Symphony and my first trombone teacher in high school, and Mikael Oskarsson, principal trombone. I haven’t met these guys for probably 15 years, great to see them again. It was also a little nerve-wrecking playing for my first teacher!

They gave me some good comments for the upcoming audition, a week later. There were maybe 30 players showing up for the audition, with a few continental Europeans and one American (not counting myself). It was great to see some of my old friends I haven’t met in years.

The first round was the David trombone concertino 1st mvt including cadenza. I think I played pretty good, but not my best, I made a couple of stupid little mistakes. After lunch they announced who advanced, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was one of the five to the second round.

The second round was the David 2nd mvt, Tuba Mirum, Bolero and Mahler Third. This round felt really comfortable, and I took my time between the excerpts, trying not to rush things. More discussions by the jury, and they decided to advance Mikael Oskarsson of the Royal Stockholm Opera and myself to the finals. This was played with the section, with no screen (for natural reasons!).

We started by doing the tenor parts, Brahms’s 4th, Nielsen’s 2nd, Tjaikovskij’s 6th and Bruckner’s 4th symphonies. I switched between 1st and 2nd trombone. After a short break we played alto, Mozart Requiem and Schuman’s 3rd.

After what felt like an eternity they announced that they wanted Mikael to play the fall with them as a trial period. I thought that was an excellent decision from the jury! Mikael is a really fine player, and a great guy, and I’m not sure I’m ready to make such a big move yet, especially considering that my wife Tina loves her position at Baylor College of Medicine.

So overall this audition was a very good experience.

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