Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lots-o-collaborative pianists at NATS Toronto auditions

If you're looking for any sort of able-bodied collaborative pianist in Toronto on Saturday, Nov. 26, chances are that you could locate nearly every single one of them (myself included) in one building, the Edward Johnson Building at the University of Toronto for the NATS Ontario Chapter annual auditions.

Basically a scholarship competition hosted by the Ontario Chapter that features detailed multiple adjudications for every singer, this event has grown to an extremely large size: this year there will be 185 singers competing in more than 16 classes.

The tough thing about scheduling this competition is fitting in all the singers, all the adjudicators, and all the pianists into a limited number of rooms in one facility in one day. In fact, the scheduling is such a Herculean task that there is a strict rule that no pianist can play for any more than 7 singers. I'm playing for a full complement of 7 and my personal schedule (each pianist gets one) is so tight that I may need to sprint from one room to another in order to make the class times for my singers.

There will be a grand total of 38 collaborative pianists playing over the course of the day--who ever thought there would be work for that many of us in a one-day event in this age of waning interest in classical music?

For those of you interested in attending the NATS Ontario auditions, they will be held in the Edward Johnson Building of the University of Toronto on Saturday Nov. 26 from 11am to 4pm with a final round at 5:15pm. Winners will advance to the Great Lakes Regional to be held in Michigan next March.

And finally, a big word of thanks for Jennifer Higgin and Irene Ilic, two NATS Ontario members who have the three-dimentional multi-tasking brainpower to actually schedule this event, and then send out personalized schedules to everyone involved telling them exactly where to be and when so the day can run smoothly.

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