FAQ < frequently asked questions

What is a training orchestra?

A training orchestra like Orchestra Next is where students and pre-professional musicians sit next to professionals.  It’s a mentorship model.  It’s an apprenticeship model.  Orchestra Next! 


Why does Eugene need a training orchestra?

There are fabulous professional and student orchestras in our area – but there simply aren’t any training orchestras.  Orchestra Next is the solution.  Students in our region need to have opportunities that bridge the gap between student and professional orchestras.  Nuff said. 


Does Orchestra Next undermine professional orchestras?

Our direct competition for The Nutcracker isn’t the Eugene Symphony or Oregon Mozart Players – our direct competition is a recording of an anonymous orchestra that has been used for the Eugene Ballet’s production for several years now.  That’s right: our direct competition is a CD.  But Eugene knows better!  Live music is better.

Furthermore, training orchestras arguably help the entire ecosystem of orchestras in any city.  Check out Benjamin Zander’s Boston Philharmonic (a training orchestra) and note how vibrant the orchestral scene is in Boston!


Is Orchestra Next just using students to provide cheap labor?

No way.  In fact, Orchestra Next is likely going to be a more expensive venture than the professional orchestras in town for this production.  Why? Because we’ll be rehearsing more.  You might be surprised to know that professional orchestras have very few rehearsals when they perform the Nutcracker – sometimes just one! – but students need more time.  It’s not uncommon for students in the University Symphony to rehearse shorter programs up to 20 times before a performance.  This gap, between 20 rehearsals and 1, is one of the reasons why a real training orchestra is needed.

And, though Orchestra Next follows an educational model, we won’t be charging the students – we will be offering the audition winners a full scholarship plus an honorarium of $300 each for their rehearsal time and performances.  


How did Orchestra Next get the Nutcracker gig?

Brian McWhorter was commissioned by the Eugene Ballet for a piece in 2012 – it was called Tyranny of the Senses.  During that production, Brian asked the Ballet directors which orchestra they used for The Nutcracker.  When they told him that they had been using pre-recorded music, Brian immediately said “what if I can get an orchestra together for you?” Along with Sarah Viens, the idea of forming a training orchestra was shortly in place. Orchestra Next helps educate our music students AND  educate our audiences to understand how LIVE MUSIC is essential to the art of ballet.

Can anyone audition for Orchestra Next?

Yes! Find the excerpts and application here: orchestranext.com/apply