The concertmaster who auditioned in sweatpants

The concertmaster who auditioned in sweatpants


norman lebrecht

May 23, 2018

One of the benefits of blind auditions – a report from Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a lot that can go wrong for a violinist during an audition. The weather could affect the instrument’s sound, the violin could go out of tune, a string could pop or a bow break.

But Madeline Adkins had a more unusual problem when she flew from Baltimore to Salt Lake City in 2015 to audition for the Utah Symphony’s concertmaster position: a lack of proper attire.

While Adkins’ violin survived the cross-country flight, her luggage did not. So when it came time to audition, the musician had no choice but to wear her sweats and rely on her violin to do the persuading. Fortunately for Adkins, the symphony had started a new audition process where even the final rounds of the audition were blind…

Read on here.



  • Andrew Constantine says:

    When you play as well as Madeline it doesn’t matter what you wear. She’s tremendous!

  • Bruce says:

    Not 100% off-topic but, shall we say, off on a tangent:

    I continue to long for the day when orchestras can wear something besides formal wear onstage. Tails & white bow tie/ tuxedo & black bow tie/ blazer & straight tie: all are equally ill-suited (pardon the pun) to playing an instrument, and HOT under the stage lights.

    It’s a sad but eternal fact that audiences in general don’t have enough musical education or taste (or rather, enough musical education to develop real taste) to gain enjoyment simply from hearing the music performed live, but need to have the performers dressed up in funny costumes as well.

    Oh well. I’m glad she got the opportunity to audition in comfortable clothing 🙂

    • John Kelly says:

      The LSO was doing more casual dress with Andre Previn back in the late 1970s. It didn’t affect anything in the playing but it didn’t seem to catch on in spite of being tried for a considerable time.

      • Bruce says:

        I wonder if it had a negative effect on ticket sales.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          The LSO still usually were something less formal the evening wear, and it has no affect on ticket sales.

          As an audience member, all I want is for the musicians to wear something clean and tidy, and not to distract from the music. They should probably all dress the same way, following the same dress code. It is mainly US orchestras who insist on exaggeratedly formal dress codes.