MET violist Katherine Anderson has been interviewing orchestra members to capture a snapshot of the many personalities of the MET as they talk about their lives both in and out of music. Here she sits down with Caterina Szepes, a member of the first violin section since 1997.
KA: What is it like to sit on a MET Orchestra audition committee?
CS: I always feel very nervous for all of the players. I want to give my best, most focused attention to every single person. It's especially hard after listening to 10 or 12 people playing the exact same repertoire to listen with the same openness. When someone gets incredibly nervous you can't really tell what a great player they might be. You sit there with a cramp in your stomach, feeling nervous for them while trying hard to stay focused and alert. But then suddenly, one person can stand out and grab your attention.
It brings me back to when I took my audition at the Met. How it felt, what I was thinking, everything about the day, even what I was wearing! It's very nerve-wracking taking auditions because you have so little time to show what you can do.
In a recent audition where I was part of the committee, there was one player, and the minute the person started playing I was in the palm of their hands. It was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes! How often does that happen?