Kevin Pearl was discouraged and at a low point when he auditioned for the Milwaukee Symphony’s assistant principal oboe position in January of 2015. He figured he had nothing to lose. So, feeling under-prepared because of reed trouble and having narrowly failed to win three auditions in previous months, he let it all out. “If I was feeling better, I would have played it safer,” he said.
Last week, Paul Hauer sat in his usual place in the MSO’s second violin section for the annual Stars of Tomorrow concert. But ten years ago, he was at the front of the stage soloing with the orchestra. Hauer is not the only MSO musician to have participated in the contest, which allows talented teenage musicians a chance to solo with the orchestra. But he is the most recent, and he is part of a talented family; his younger sister was one of the finalists this year.
On a Tuesday afternoon in February, in a mostly empty Uihlein Hall, 190 singers from four Wisconsin high school choirs assembled onstage with the musicians of the Milwaukee Symphony, to rehearse Francis Poulenc’s Gloria. Conductor Randy Swiggum gave the downbeat — and some of the teenagers gasped
It has been nearly 47 years since she joined the MSO’s bass section. “I didn’t think I was that old,” she says, shaking her head. “I started when I was 4. Put that in!” Her laugh almost splits her face. And for nearly two hours, Laura Snyder tells stories.