With the applications set to close on March 7th for the 2018 Astral Artists National Auditions, VC recently caught up with the roster's Executive Director, Ms Julia Rubio - to get a better understanding of the program's mission, goals and process.
"At Astral, we believe in ideas. It fuels our work and gives us a lens through which we’re imagining a future for classical music.
Our muse? The incredible artists we are privileged to work with every day. In fact, we believe we’re witnessing the birth of one of classical music’s greatest generations and the change-makers we’ve been waiting for.
Giving ideas and innovation a place to thrive is the single most important contribution we can make to classical music. This is why our program serves as an incubator that fosters the early careers of extraordinary classical musicians.
We work at the thin point of a wedge. There is a narrow opening for any artist to enter the field, but Astral provides them with the resources and exclusive connections that can help them move down the wedge and expand their sphere of influence. We do this by providing industry exposure, marketing support, community service immersion, a sandbox in which they can explore artistic ideas with like-minded musicians, and performance opportunities across the nation and in our home base of Philadelphia.
An artist’s work with Astral is not a sprint to a finish line. It is a time commitment of artistic development and network building, and it is a safe place to explore ideas and build community. This is why artists participate in our program for an average of 4-5 years.
Since we make a long-term and personalized commitment to our artists and ensembles, our National Auditions process is very competitive, and only a few artists are invited to join our program each year. We look for exemplary and curious musicians who want to innovate both within and beyond tradition. However, we don’t expect incoming artists to have all the answers; that’s why we’re here. What we do seek are open-minded individuals who are ready to shape the future of classical music with their dedication to excellence, and who have the courage to take risks.
At times we’re confused with being a management agency. While our bookings program is robust and our artists enjoy national engagements with orchestras and on concert series, bookings are a small part of the Astral story. We view them as one of many investments we make in our artists, enabling them to chart their own course and impact the field for years to come. We also invest in their wellbeing, in their artistic development, in their network by introducing them to influencers in the industry, and we invest in them financially.
Our aim is to create cohorts of artistic visionaries who leave our program ready to build a future for classical music, and we build this guiding principle into our artists’ experience from day one. Emerging artists are told most doors will be closed until they can prove their worth – measured mostly by their ability to generate ticket sales, and not for their potential as creative problem solvers. We see things differently. We look for potential in classical musicians in unusual ways. In fact, for artists who advance to the final round of the Astral National Auditions, they will find that their instrument is not required – they talk and we listen. We listen to their ideas and get to know each finalist as creative people with important stories to tell.
The 2018 winners will join the esteemed Astral Artists roster – for customized career development mentorship, marketing, performance opportunities and community engagement experience.
Previous audition winners include: violinists Judith Ingolfsson and Soovin Kim – and VC Artists Nikki & Timothy Chooi, Zlatomir Fung and Benjamin Beilman.
Applications for the 2018 auditions to be received by March 7, 2018.
For further details visit: http://bit.ly/2hXqkuS.