My first audition to get in to a Doctoral Program and an assistantship for that matter, was Florida State University. I flew into Charlotte and found out that my flight to Tallahassee was canceled because they had tornado warnings near the Tallahassee airport. I sat for ten hours or so until I was able to catch another flight but when I got to Tallahassee, the weather was perfect. 72 degrees, sunny, perfect humidity. I was able to talk to the driver of the taxi on my way to the hotel. He was very nice, very similar to the people in Kansas, and definitely had a passion for football, so we talked a lot about what we expected next year in the college game. My hotel, was, well, a building. The door wouldn't close all the way, almost if someone put a car door of a Taurus on an Audi....totally different doors; they obviously do not go together, however the hotel must have had a different perspective. It definitely had bugs and mold and 60's decor, but it had cable and a color TV so I was set to go.
The next day was the day of my audition. I took a cab to the music building and looked around and went to the practice rooms. The campus is very similar to K-State in a lot of ways, very compact and uniform. The music department was in two different buildings and probably needed more space even. Florida State has a very large music school...3rd largest in the nation. I saw Valerie Trujillo, a great friend, and amazing musician, who has helped me so much this past year. It was great to see her, and I was able to see some friends from my New York trip last summer, so we had fun getting back in touch.
The audition itself was in a small theater...similar to a black box theater most schools have, which was less than ideal because it was not live at all (meaning, it had very little reverberation). The professors were very professional, cordial, and stoic, they showed little emotion, little favoritism. They sat in front of me as I sang a Strauss lieder "Ich trage meine Minne", and they chose "Here I Stand" from the Rake's Progress and the end of "Dies Bildniss". The requirements for the audition were pretty unique and I wasn't able to put some of my favorite repertoire on it. "Here I Stand" is a very unique piece, but not so much a piece to exhibit much of what I can do, however I needed to sing a 20th century aria and a secco recitative...so, I put that down. It was a little shocking that they would ask me to sing the end of "Dies Bildniss" just because no one had asked that before, but it is a very difficult part to sing, not necessarily crazy high, but technically very very difficult. I felt fine with the audition, my voice was doing well all day, but I had some technical things, some slight breaks, that were nearly uncontrollable, that you just have to sing through and hope the voice holds up. After singing they asked me to recite poetry in Italian and German (they did not warn of this beforehand, so this was just on-the-spot testing), which was a piece of cake.
After the audition the tenor professor, Stanford Olsen asked to talk to me. We went to his office and I asked him all kinds of questions and he had many things to encourage me on. He was a great person, and definitely one of the greatest singers in the world. Just in case you didn't know, he sings at the Met and many of the other most prestigious Opera houses in the world. We talked for nearly an hour and a half before I left. Afterward, I wanted to find a place to get on the internet, but FSU is not wireless friendly for non-students. I walked for more than an hour before I found a Burger King to use the free wifi. Then I walked all the way back to listen to a faculty concert, which was amazing, and finally went back to the hotel. I flew back to Kansas City and had a week before I left again for an audition at the University of North Texas. As far as results from these auditions, I will post them whenever I hear from all of them (probably late March), just because I know a lot of people view my facebook and it would be least troublesome in the end.