Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Letter from Robert McGinnis to Daniel Bonade

Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977)

I am busy at home going over all my old notes to resurrect my research on Daniel Bonade and also get ready for my presentation at the ClarinetFest. I just came across a copy of an undated letter to Bonade from his student Robert McGinnis about his audition for Leopold Stokowski, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. It was probably written about 1930, the year McGinnis entered the orchestra. He started as third clarinetist, and then moved to principal, when Louis DeSantis left.
6235 Chestnut St.
Tuesday P-M.
Dear Daniel: - 

Well I played for Stoky this morning. I thought I'd write you cause I couldn't hold it until Saturday. The reed still worked good and I played quite well and he was quite pleased and said he was petty sure I'd do. There are some catches in it tho cause he wants me to play again in 2 weeks and wants me to practice certain things. He said I must have first good tone, good phrasing and most important of all to do just as he signs without being talked to. For the next audition I must develop a vibrato for certain places, play much more freely and be careful not to go flat in crescendos. All I played was Don Juan, Unfinished Symphony, and Venusberg Music and Scheherazade. He made me play so loud that even a tuba would have gone flat under the pressure and I had an awful time trying to make a vibrato. And of course I must play more freely and flexibly. I think all that can be taken care of if I can only discover how to make a vibrato.

What makes me feel the chances are good is that he asked me if I knew anybody for 2nd or 3rd and so I told him about Collis. He told me not to say a word to anybody about this and so I won't tell Collis but you could easily start preparing him without telling him for a while. I'll give you the details on Sat. when I see you and you better bring an extra vibrato with you. My best wishes to Mrs. Bonade and I'll see you soon.

Very Sincerely, 
Robt. McGinnis

If you want to know more about Bonade and McGinnis and Stokowski, check out this link.

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