Friday, February 19, 2010

Opera Apprentice Programs for Pianists, Updated

This is an updated list of apprentice programs that train pianists (and whatever else I can find that pays and gives performing experience). These are specifically not summer gigs, which I've listed here.

Des Moines Metro Opera - OPERA Iowa Touring Group goes from Jan-April

Kentucky Opera Artist Program - Aug-Nov

LA Opera - Full Season

Metropolitan Opera - Lindemann Young Artist program - 1+ years

Minnesota Opera - Full Season

Nashville Opera - Jan-March

Opera Colorado - Sept-May

Pensacola Opera - Jan-April

Utah Opera - Aug-May

Virginia Opera - Full Season

Washington National Opera - 2 year program

Other Random or Related Gigs:
Cleveland Baroque Orchestra Young Artist Apprenticeship Program - Full Season


Susan said...

I wrote a comment to one of your articles, but now I can't find the article that started my comment, so I'm just commenting here. The article said "Too often, piano performance majors graduate with virtuosic skill, but are virtually clueless of how to be useful in different venues."

This is so true. I lived and breathed piano as a kid, but I majored in electrical engineering because I couldn't see how I was going to make myself useful as a piano performance major. I think my education in piano was pretty ridiculous, and I went to a teacher who was considered to be the best in the city. It seems to me her primary focus was not music, but virtuousity. I could play a mean Chopin, but my rendition of "Happy Birthday" would have pretty much sucked.

I worked as an engineer in the DC area for ten years, then quit to stay home with my kids when we moved to a small town. I've been doing some small gigs as a pianist and am considering trying to bring in a supplemental income with the piano rather than returning to engineering. I like this idea not only because I love to play the piano, but because it might get me out of our little "one-company" town a bit. I've found your website very useful in exploring this possibility. I'm open to almost anything that involves playing the piano: church gigs, accompanying students, playing for dance lessons (never thought of that one until I saw your sight), "cocktail piano" (didn't know what to call this venue until I read one of your articles), whatever!

The one exception is playing for memorials. I have a fear that some day someone I know will ask me to play at a memorial service. Maybe it will be someone who loves some particular piece that I've played, and they know they're going to die in the next six months, and they want me to play this piece for their memorial. How do you say "no" to that? I'm a basket case at memorials. I think that I would cry my eyes out even at a memorial for a person I've never met, so how could I possibly perform at one?

I've never performed solo very well as I get very nervous and distracted by every little noise and movement in the audience. I find I do much better as an accompanist because then I'm focused on the performer and I don't get distracted by the audience. When I get nervous, I experience something like cubital tunnel syndrome. It starts in my "funny bone" nerve and causes my hands to freeze up a bit. While the symptoms appear to be just like those of cubital tunnel syndrome, I have not seen anything on the internet that says cubital tunnel syndrome can be caused by nervousness. But surely I'm not the only person to experience this problem?! I have this sensation only when I'm extremely nervous, so I don't believe I have some sort of chronic medical condition that needs to be addressed. I was wondering if you or any of your readers know anything about what I'm experiencing. As you can imagine, it can be rather debilitating for a pianist! I've always managed to play through it, but it definitely affects my playing.

This "comment" got very long, sorry. I'm not expecting a reply, I mostly just wanted to say I appreciate your blog and if you ever need material, maybe you could address memorial services and performance anxiety. I suppose that the only real cure for the latter is practice and experience, but I'm always interested in hearing other people's perspective on the subject.

Billie Whittaker said...

Thank you for your feedback!

The article you couldn't find is the last one in July 2009, written to address employment expectations for classical pianists. I'm glad the site was useful for you, and hope you get more opportunities to perform. Performing regularly will help eliminate a lot of performance anxiety, although there's almost always some jolt of adrenaline (partly why we keep playing).

Rob said...

Sarasota Opera: EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY for apprentice to the music staff

Florida’s Sarasota Opera seeks a pianist to serve as the apprentice to the music staff for it upcoming winter season (December 27, 2015-March 20, 2016).

Candidate must have strong piano skills and interest in learning about the running of a rep opera company.

Duties include:
play rehearsals for chorus master
surtitle operator for several production(will train)
play keyboards in pit as assigned
take notes as needed for the guest conductors
assist orchestra librarian as needed
coaching singer on program and non-program music

Apprentice to the music staff will have a chance to observe and participate in the inner workings of the opera company. In addition, Apprentice to the music staff will be able to interface with more seasoned colleagues.

PAY: total $2,000.00 for the entire season
HOUSING: shared accommodations provided free

Interested parties need to send their resumes asap to:
Greg Trupiano
Director of Artistic Administration
Sarasota Opera

Must be able to audition in Florida.

Greg Trupiano
Office: 347-513-0255