Philharmonia Seating Explanation

Your value and worth as a musician is NOT determined by the chair number you occupy!!! There are 100 students in the Philharmonia Orchestra and 100 chairs, with almost half of those chairs going to Violinists. Seating will rotate during the season, but more important is your contribution to the orchestra. There is a reason why the composer wrote every part the way he/she did. It doesn’t matter what chair number you sit or what part you play. Every single musician in the Philharmonia Orchestra is significant and plays a vital role in the ensemble’s success.

When seating members of the Philharmonia Orchestra I will take into account the players’ experience, leadership qualities, effort in rehearsals, attendance, strengths, and areas for growth. It is important that musicians who are new to Philharmonia or to WYSO are seated with someone who has been in WYSO/PHIL before. Those with potential leadership skills will be placed in positions to develop those skills. Musicians who have good attendance and give a strong effort at every rehearsal can also be placed in leadership positions. Taking into account players’ strengths for example, I need to be sure that the 1st trumpet or 1st horn players are secure in the upper register, while the 4th horn or 3rd trombone players have rich and confident sound in the lower registers. For the string players, it is imperative to your development that you have experience playing in the front, middle and back of your sections. You will develop different skills by moving throughout the section.

I was a violinist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years and during that time I was seated in the middle and back of the 2nd Violin Section. The truth is, the further you are from the conductor, the harder it is for you as a musician. You must continually use your eyes and ears in order to stay with the ensemble. In the professional orchestra world, you audition for whatever chair is open in your section. If the opening is for last chair in the Viola Section or for 3rd Trombone, if you win the audition that’s the chair you get.

Think for a moment about all of those students who auditioned to be in WYSO but didn’t “win” the opportunity to get a chair in one of our orchestras. But you did! Don’t take that for granted.

Michelle Kaebisch
Philharmonia Conductor

Support WYSO

Click to make a secure online donation.

Shop AmazonSmile

Support WYSO programs when you shop AmazonSmile!

Stay In Touch

Sign up to receive our newsletter and/or emails on concerts and special events.