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Violinist Glenn Dicterow Discusses What Audition Panels Look For

"As part of an orchestral or college audition panel, what do you want to hear in someone’s playing?" We threw the question over to former New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow to seek his advice.

You've been preparing nearly your entire life for this moment – an audition to enter into your dream conservatory or to win that coveted spot in your favorite orchestra. What qualities do audition panels look for in an interested candidate? VC reader Stephanie was keen to know.

What are some audition tips that you know of? How do you calm your nerves before an audition? Please leave a comment below, we are keen to know your thoughts.


Violinist Glenn Dicterow Talks About Qualities That Audition Panels Look for

Hi Stephanie,

The qualities I look for in someone auditioning for either an orchestra or a college/conservatory are: excellent rhythm (which includes observing the rests accurately), superb intonation, and the ability to perform cleanly and accurately the varied bow strokes required by the repertoire they are playing.

Beyond this, I look for intelligent musical phrasing and understanding of the works they are performing. I would not enjoy hearing Mozart and Strauss performed in the same manner.

There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of virtuosic technique displayed by today's young string players. However, what I often find missing in string playing is beautiful sound and colorful phrasing.

It would be wise for young musicians to listen to some of the old recordings of the great artists of the 20th century to get their inspiration.



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Violinist Glenn Dicterow has established himself worldwide as one of the most prominent American concert artists of his generation. Mr. Dicterow has enjoyed a storied career. The concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 34 years, an all-time record in that major orchestral position, he became the first holder of the Robert Mann Chair in Strings and Chamber Music at the USC Thornton School of Music in 2013. He is also the Chairman of the Orchestral Performance Program at New York’s Manhattan School of Music.



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