Blast from the past

A few weeks ago I had a Facebook memory pop up on my news feed from four years ago, when I relatively spontaneously came over to Berlin to audition for Karajan Academy in the Berlin Philharmoniker. After the first round of the audition, one of the horn players in the section took a photo of everyone who was there – and I’m so glad she did!

Looking back on this photo was quite amusing for Jess-4 years-on, as after living in Germany for over two years I actually now see many familiar faces in it – people that I’ve met in the 20 or so auditions I have done since moving here.

Photo of the Horn players that attended the Karajan Akademie audition in Berlin 2012

It was also a perfect time to reflect on the path that led me to where I am today and to see how much someone can achieve once they decide to commit to something. 

It was after this audition (which went absolutely terribly for me by the way!) that I decided to do whatever it would take to get to Germany and to build a career over here as a Horn player. I spent the next year and a half working, paying off debt that I had managed to sink into during my early 20’s, revising the basic German that I already knew, google translating school application forms and reaching out to everyone I knew that could assist with this process. 

After postponing my audition trip by 6 months (as I still didn’t have the funds I needed) I managed to arrive in May 2014 ready to tackle my next challenge -auditioning for the schools I had applied to study at.

I don’t think that I have ever experienced anything as insane as the Aufnahmeprüfung (entrance exams) over here. Every audition I did, there were somewhere between 25-45 people attending (only horn players) fighting for sometimes only one free place in the Horn classes. I was a lucky one. I was offered a place in the Hannover Hornclass and as of October 2014 commenced my Masters there. 

It took one year of hard work and consistency to win my first audition – a 1 year contract playing in a very good Opera orchestra in Mannheim. This in itself  was a new challenge – balancing work, studies, auditions and life in general. Once my contract ended in October, I walked away feeling much more prepared for a full-time orchestral job. 

Horn group in Mannheim after a concert playing Ein Heldenleben

Since returning from my holidays in Australia (mid-September) I have attended six more auditions, two of which I came in second for the job. Today I’m still faced with obstacles, in this case it’s more to do with keeping a ‘cool head’ in auditions so that I may consistently play well in any situation. Sounds like a lot of work but as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way!

I love looking back, not only to see how far I have come since my first audition in Germany but also to remind myself; no matter how big the obstacle, hard work and commitment always pays off and gets you to where you want and may need to go.


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