Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Musical Chairs: Steve Williamson and the Chicago Symphony

The word from Facebook's "Clarinet Jobs" is that Steve Williamson has been offered the position of principal clarinet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  This may be the final chapter of a saga that has been ongoing since January of 2008 (!) when preliminary auditions were first held to fill the vacancy left by Larry Combs' retirement at the end of that season.  Steve Williamson, trained at Eastman and Juilliard, has been principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera since 2003.  He has not yet accepted the position and there has been no official announcement from the CSO.

If you're on Facebook, you can view the discussion here.

This thread on the Clarinet BBoard continues the conversation, including a cameo from Anthony McGill.

The selection of the next CSO principal clarinet has generated much discussion in the three and a half years since the audition process began.  Clarinetists at the BBoard and Clarinet Jobs (not to mention late-night ClarinetFest debates) have had plenty to say about those who auditioned, those who didn't, Ricardo Morales declining the position, and the state of orchestral auditions and performing positions in general.  For further reading, you might wish to check out this Clarinet BBoard thread from 2008 - an interesting look back at the history of this process.

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