In early May 2017 I was fortunate enough to play a couple concerts with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. My friend and former colleague, Seth McConnell, is the Principal Timpanist with the group and he had the good fortune of playing a week with the San Francisco Symphony. So Seth called in a back up (me) for his FWSO activities and I got to spend a couple of days playing multiple programs with this incredible band.
During the first rehearsal I met my now-new-friend Keith Williams, who serves as the Principal Percussionist with the FWSO. Keith was awesome and made the week a lot of fun for me.
As someone who spent a tad bit of time in the orchestral audition scene earlier in my career, I've always been fascinated by the inner workings of these processes and wanted to pick Keith's brain a little bit.
"How did you win your job?"
"How did you prepare for this audition in particular?"
"Did you miss notes in the audition?"
"What did it feel like when they announced that you had won?"
And so on. . .
So I twisted Keith's arm, begged him for an interview, and we sat down after our final run out performance at the end of the week, somewhere in Southlake, TX in front of a man-made pond with the hiss of a fountain in the background.
Check out Part 1 of our interview to hear Keith talk about his preparation for the FWSO audition, his practice and prep routines, the specific flow of the audition rounds, and how he ultimately won his gig.