21 invited players played a preliminary round from behind a screen. 10 or 11 were advanced. The Cleveland music director called for an "intermediate" round at precisely the time that most players were told they had enough time to get lunch. Everyone was rounded up quickly with no warm-up time or private room to play two more excerpts with screen down. And they all were cut and sent home. Mind, it was a literal "who's who" of Principal and titled players from orchestras large and small and section players from other big-5 orchestras. The vibe backstage was one of disbelief. I personally found the treatment of candidates completely disrespectful. I have no idea if Maestro FWM was aware that some of us were down the street eating burritos mere minutes before being asked to play again.
The audition progressed with three internal candidates, but no one was hired.
Honestly, it could have been something as simple as a mis-communication between the Maestro and the committee and the staff managing the audition. Still, I would prefer to audition in an environment that feels designed to allow for one to play their best.
I was at the Cleveland Orchestra assistant concertmaster audition last week, and a similar thing happened then too. 20+ people in screened prelims, nearly 20 advanced so they added an additional round. We had been told we would have plenty of time before the next round and were free to leave the building (at least one person actually did), but soon after that were told that the additional round would be starting immediately. Before we played we all had to wait together in the lounge, where we could not warm up. This round was unscreened, everybody played 2 excerpts, and only 1 person advanced to finals. They ended up hiring one of the internal candidates from the final round.
I was also one of the candidates at the audition, and I advanced to the second round, whatever you want to call it.
I want to preface my comment by saying that I'm usually wary of conspiracy theorists at auditions and of people who complain about no-hire auditions. As a member of a major orchestra who has sat on many audition panels, I recognize that there are often good reasons why no one gets hired at an audition.
However, from my personal experience, it really seemed clear to me that this audition in Cleveland was not in good faith. I was really appalled that we weren't given any chance to warm up before the second round and were only asked to play two excerpts each before they dismissed everyone. I know that there were quite a few very qualified players who showed up, but it seemed obvious that the orchestra was simply not interested in giving anyone a chance to play well.
Cleveland has a reputation for hand -picking people for job vacancies, and hiring only students of current principals, etc. I'm not necessarily opposed to this practice- they have a tradition that they want to uphold, and they want to groom people that they feel are the right fit. I understand that. What I object to is holding an open "audition" and asking people to spend so much of their time and resources to come, and then to treat them in this really disrespectful manner with no intention of giving them a fair shot to be heard.
I would certainly thing twice before I show up for another audition in Cleveland.