I am hoping to audition for the New England Conservatory Preparatory School Youth Philharmonic Orchestra on bass trombone (website found here). As you can see, this is a very tough ensemble to get into. I have to prepare a slow and lyrical piece, as well as a fast, technical piece. For my slow piece I have Lebedev's Concerto in One Movement. Would it be appropriate to do the Bourée 1 and 2 Bach cello suites as my fast piece, or should I generally play only pieces written for my instrument (Meditation by Hidas is my backup fast piece).

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A Bach transcription is entirely appropriate for a trombone audition. If the audition requirements don't say anything that exclude it, I'd say that's an excellent choice, provided you can play it well!

One thing I would be looking for as an adjudicator of an audition would be how you adapt the breathing required for playing the piece on bass trombone to the music. Portraying your interpretation convincingly and confidently is essential -- this is beloved music, and no one wants to hear it done halfheartedly. That's perhaps one risk you run in doing Bach compared to standard trombone repertoire, but it's such excellent music that if you pull it off, it will make a great impression.

  • Would you consider it a "technical enough" piece for bass trombone?
    – Someone
    Jun 1, 2014 at 22:48
  • Agreed with NReilingh - Bach is unforgiving and mistakes are instantly apparent when they arise. Yes, your breathing must be convincing. If I were an adjudicator, I would also be interested in hearing your slurring - especially through faster passages. Articulated notes show accuracy and flexibility, but clean slurring on the trombone shows nuance and dedication. That all said, I would also definitely prepare the required material as well: necmusic.edu/pdf/prep/Spring_Bass_Trombone.pdf if you have not done so already. Jun 2, 2014 at 0:15
  • Oh of course I will prepare the excerpts; I have to in order to make YPO. I was talking about doing this as one of my pieces.
    – Someone
    Jun 2, 2014 at 0:55
  • So it is definitely considered "technical?"
    – Someone
    Jun 2, 2014 at 0:56
  • @Someone I did notice that the Hidas is more overtly virtuosic in nature, but that wasn't part of the question. Personally I'd find the Bach to be more impressive, though you may want to run that question by your private teacher. Also, chances are that the orchestral excerpts are chosen in part to give them the amount of "flash" they need to see.
    – NReilingh
    Jun 2, 2014 at 1:15

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