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ustin Bartels has lost track of the number of times he’s been through it: Is it 45? 50? Since his first attempt at age 21, he’s boarded dozens of planes, perfected long lists of works, learned to steady his nerves and his attitude as he goes through a ritual familiar to all symphonic musicians: The Audition. “The audition is basically a microcosm of what the job is,” says Bartels. “The repertoire list you learn for the audition is a good indication of what you’ll play in the job. You’re expected to perform and execute, to listen and take direction, as if you already know everything.” Bartels won his current job as Principal Trumpet for the Colorado Symphony in 2008, after four attempts. The first time, as a young music student at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, he didn’t make it past the first round. During another try in 2003, his mind was

elsewhere – on his new fellowship with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami, where he’d met Myroslava Ivanchenko, the violin player who would become his wife. Back at Boettcher Concert Hall again in 2005, he advanced to the semi-finals but faced an unexpected obstacle: the dressing on a sub sandwich he’d had for lunch had irritated his mouth, a major handicap for a brass player. “I never realized the potential negative effect of eating an hour before my audition. But these are the kinds of things you learn,” he says. “I went through a cycle. At first I had this naïveté and basically no experience. The next time I was sort of apathetic. And the third time there was a physical factor. I learned that you have to be totally prepared – mentally, physically. You can’t do anything stupid. It’s something you have to take very seriously every time.”


Soundings Magazine November 1-3, 2013  
Soundings Magazine November 1-3, 2013  

In-theater magazine produced for the Colorado Symphony