What’s the first thing you should say at a German orchestra audition?

What’s the first thing you should say at a German orchestra audition?


norman lebrecht

January 03, 2017

‘Guten Tag,’ apparently.

‘Hi’ does not go down well.

More winning tips here from Leipzig Gewandhaus timpanist Tom Greenleaves.

See also: How to win a German audition.



  • Ritter Mihai says:

    Et en France -Bonjour.
    în România -Bună ziua

  • Maura says:

    1st: When you audition behind a screen, you don’t say anything…and
    2nd: Why are you writing about a “German” audition, while showing a picture from the Wiener Staatsoper?

    • Max Grimm says:

      The majority of orchestral auditions in Germany take place without a screen and of the German orchestras that do use a screen, most only use it in the preliminary and/or first rounds.

      • Gerhard says:

        To my knowledge nowadays a screen is standard at least in the first one or two rounds in German orchestras. On the other hand you are right that it is usual to do the final round or rounds without it.

        • Qwerty1234 says:

          Untrue. I haven’t heard of a single german orchestra having a screen.

          • David says:

            I have auditioned for a number of German orchestras and opera orchestras. There was an equal mix of screened and non-screened auditions.

          • Gerhard says:

            Dear QWERTY1234, you may not have heard of it, but I’m sorry to say that this doesn’t prove anything. I have been playing for more than four decades in German orchestras, and even my first one in the mid-Seventies held the first round(s) behind a screen. I myself have taken further auditions until the end of the Eighties, and while I wouldn’t claim that screens were standard back then, they were not that rare either. My young colleagues who are taking auditions these days tell me that in the first round or rounds screens are definitely the rule, and I have no reason to doubt this because it is exactly the way we do it in my recent orchestra. Now I’m looking forward to seeing your proof that my post is in fact untrue.

  • Vienna calling says:

    ‘Guten Tag’ doesn’t go down so well in Vienna. ‘Grüß Gott’ is what I’d say.

  • Peter says:

    Of course not “Hi” but more formal, you are applying for a job, not meeting people in an informal private setting.

    Before noon: “Guten Morgen”
    between noon and 6 p.m.: “Guten Tag”
    After 6 p.m. “Guten Abend”

    top secret, you read it here first.