Kelly Zimba, from Pittsburgh, won principal flute at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra last month.
She tells Classical Music Network what it took to get there:
photo; Shannon Langman
‘Including Toronto, I took 17 (auditions) in the span of 2.5 years. In the beginning, I think I put too much pressure on doing well and advancing to the next round. It didn’t work well.
‘When I stopped thinking about the results and tried to enjoy the process more, I started to see hints of success. For me, the process wasn’t linear at all. I would make the finals in one audition, and then not advance past the preliminaries in the next one. It was random, and I don’t think I played that differently in each audition. There are many factors in an audition that are out of your control, and I learned to be okay with that.
‘Financially, auditions can get expensive! I took advantage of frequent flyer miles and hotel points when I could, but mostly I became obsessed with travel deals. Staying in an Airbnb was often much less expensive than booking a hotel, and I usually tried to stay somewhere along a public transportation line with easy access to both the airport and the hall.
‘Occasionally, Groupon would have a hotel deal of which I could take advantage. Sometimes, I would piece together two different flights/drives if it was cheaper than flying directly to a particular city. ‘
Read the full interview here.