Most people think of an orchestra as being made up of the musicians who perform on stage. In reality, orchestral performances necessitate the participation of a wide range of people. There are a variety of orchestra jobs available, including performer, conductor, and instructor positions, as well as a few odd jobs.
Many orchestra jobs are in the realm of performance, and can be classified instrument or voice. The various instruments and voices will be divided into sections, with a section principal in charge of each. The principal is in charge of leading his or her section, as well as playing or singing any solos for that instrument or voice. The concertmaster or concert leader of the first violin section has additional responsibilities, which include leading rehearsals on occasion. Soloists or principals may be advertised for these positions.
Apart from section principals and soloists, orchestra jobs are referred to as tutti players, which is Italian for “all together.” These players are in charge of learning the music in time for rehearsals and, if necessary, implementing changes requested the section leader or conductor. Tutti players may be given the opportunity to audition for principal or soloist positions when they become available.
The conductor is another prominent member of the orchestra. The conductor is in charge of keeping the entire orchestra together during performances and managing the piece’s dynamics. To do so, he or she must have a thorough understanding of each instrument’s role as well as how the various parts fit together.
The repetiteur is a less visible but vital part of the orchestral process, particularly in opera. The word “repetiteur” means “repeater” or “rehearser” in French. This person works with individual musicians on technique and musical development, particularly voice soloists, and may be called upon to lead rehearsals. Repetiteurs must be accomplished musicians as well as educators.
There are a few other jobs in the orchestra that aren’t directly related to the performance. An archivist is required to maintain a library of recordings, programs, scrapbooks, and other media in most metropolitan orchestras. This person should be well-versed in music as well as library maintenance. Administrators, salespeople, accountants, and other general business people are also needed orchestras. Anyone applying for one of these jobs should have a basic understanding of music and the orchestral process.