Employment and Musician Openings

Auditions for available Orchestra positions

The Traverse Symphony Orchestra (TSO – Please see description below) under the musical direction of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Kevin Rhodes is seeking the highest skilled and experienced candidates for the following positions listed below. The live audition in Traverse City will take place September 10, 2023, at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, MI.

The live auditions will take place behind a screen and anonymous for the initial rounds, but the committee reserves the right to remove the screen for the final round(s). All rounds will be held on the same day.

HORN 4: Audition Announcement Horn 4 Repertoire
ASST PRINCIPAL TRUMPET & SECTION TRUMPET (2 positions): Audition Announcement Trumpet 2 and Repertoire
SECTION VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO, and DOUBLE BASS: Audition Announcement for Strings and Repertoire

The musicians occupying these chairs can expect in the 2023-2024 season the opportunity for up to 3 classical, 1 pops, and summer engagements. There are also many additional opportunities with chamber music and smaller performances both of a regular concert nature, and also including outreach and educational performances. For season 2024-2025, this represents approximately 40 services plus any applicable travel and housing stipend.

Tutti First and Second Violin Positions

These are available in all string sections and successful candidates can initially expect 3 to 5 concert cycles to be offered in the initial season, but we expect this to build significantly over the coming years. Moreover, qualified candidates who demonstrate the appropriate skill level can expect to be called for the smaller orchestra programs when the musicians occupying the titled chairs are not available. The precise number of chairs available will be in part determined by the number of qualified candidates. Being so far north and the orchestra scene in Michigan being rather vibrant, it is usually the case the not all contracted players will be able to play every cycle of course. Therefore, we wish to increase the number of people who are actually in the orchestra, as well as fill open positions due to retirements and relocation.

Tutti Viola, Cello, Bass, and Supplemental Musician List

An auditionee may elect to only audition for the sub list if that suits their circumstances. We also expect that we may not be able to find a place in the orchestra for some good candidates and they will be placed on our supplemental players list. Musicians on this list are very important to the TSO and very often a reliable and prepared supplemental player has ultimately joined the orchestra as a regular core player. It is also expected that in this particular time with the pandemic etc. many people have suddenly changing life circumstances, and a successful sub-list audition at this time could very quickly lead to a regular position.

Covid Protocols: All Auditionees must show proof of vaccination.

To Apply: Please send a CV to aaleo@traversesymphony.org and a $50 check made out to the Traverse Symphony Orchestra to hold an audition spot. Upon arrival to audition, your check will be returned to you.


The Orchestra –

The TSO is the largest and oldest professional symphony orchestra in northern Michigan. Having been in existence for 70 years it has grown from a community ensemble to a fully professional orchestra with principal players who have played in some of the finest orchestras in the US and around the world. Maestro Kevin Rhodes is celebrating his 21st season. With a CV that includes 25 years at the Vienna State Opera, 12 years at the Paris Opera, 20 at La Scala of Milan and many other opera houses and orchestras around the world, Rhodes has had a vision of steadily building the orchestra into the finest ensemble possible. Soloists with the orchestra are of the highest caliber and visiting guest artists this season include some of the best on the concert circuit in the US today. Supported by the very generous community of the region, the TSO artistically far outranks what one might expect for the size of the population. The orchestra has during the regular season a traditional symphonic series, a pops series of the newly formed Jazz Orchestra and a guest recital series. A new summer season will begin this upcoming summer of 2022. Participation in the summer season is desired, but not required.

Repertoire over the past years has included:
Mahler Symphonies Nr. 1 & 2
Beethoven Symphonies 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, Piano Concertos, 1,2,3,4,5
Brahms Symphonies 1,2,3,4, Violin Concerto, Piano Concertos 1,2, Requiem
Berg Violin Concerto
Amram Flute Concerto – Creatures of the Night
Copland Clarinet Concerto, Appalachian Spring
Poulenc Gloria, Organ Concerto
Ravel Alborada del Gracioso, Bolero, Piano Concerto
Bartok Concerto for Orchestra
Nielsen Symphony Nr. 4
Wagner – Excerpts from Götterdämmerung and Tristan und Isolde with
international Wagnerian Soprano, Othalie Graham
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique
Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4,5, Piano Concerto 1, Violin Concerto, Romeo and
Juliet Ov., Francesca da Rimini
Respighi Pines of Rome, Church Windows
Verdi Requiem, Selections from Aida, Forza del Destino etc.
The TSO has taken part in many commissions of new music and is committed to
presenting newly composed works to our audiences.


The Future –

The administrative team of Executive Director Dr. Kedrik Merwin (a decades-long experienced music administrator and professional musician) and Maestro Rhodes are fully supported by a visionary and engaged Board of Directors who along with community leaders wish to grow the TSO in very exciting ways over the coming years. Both Dr. Merwin and Maestro Rhodes are under contract to the TSO with long-term agreements in place. The number of performance and employment opportunities are expected to increase significantly in the next seasons. Furthermore, we hope to be able to provide teaching and coaching opportunities for our leading musicians in the years ahead. The administrative team of the orchestra boasts among its ranks, two doctorates in Music and a deeply experienced support team.


The Audience and Supporters –

The audience of the TSO is made up of a very high percentage of musically sophisticated and knowledgeable listeners. Many of the region’s residents have moved to the area from much larger cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, as well as ever-increasing numbers from both coasts of the United States. We also have an unusually high number of residents with music degrees. All of this leads to an outsize and reliable base of interest and support.


The Region –

The Traverse City region is nationwide noted as one of the most beautiful in the country with an incredible amount of unspoiled natural beauty. This is accompanied by some of the best restaurants in the state of Michigan, along with a vibrant winery, craft brewery, and distillery industry. The shopping is also of a much higher caliber than one might expect in literally hundreds of privately owned business that give a personal touch to the purchasing experience. Musicians who come to play in the TSO traditionally try to make time to enjoy some of the wonderful things the area has to offer. Many musicians come up with their families for a long weekend who may even have a better time on vacation for the weekend than the family member who is working!


Interested candidates, please contact Director of Education and Music Librarian, Angela Lickiss Aleo: aaleo@traversesymphony.org