What does this mean, you ask? Well, it's a little complicated, but I'll try to explain it. Basically, when I auditioned back in 2007, I was technically auditioning for a spot in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. By winning that audition, I was then entitled to perform with the Philharmonic, but not to receive the full benefits of orchestra membership. It is the orchestra's policy that new members must wait three years before applying for membership into the Wiener Philharmoniker Verein. A 'verein' could be roughly translated as a group, club, association, or society.
So for the past three seasons I, along with fellow trombonist Mark Gaal, have had little stars or asterisks beside our names on the VPO website and in the programs that meant we were State Opera members, but not yet Philharmonic members. By virtue of the vote yesterday, the asterisk will soon be removed! The only real changes we'll notice will be the ability to vote in VPO meetings and also a nice-sized pay increase. :) It's also the absolute final step in my confirmation process that assures my spot in the orchestra for as long as I want it.
It feels really nice to finally be 100% finished with all the hearings and juries and applications, even though it was more a formality than anything. It's a true honor to have my name join the long and storied list of Philharmoniker musicians dating all the way back to 1842, and even more so considering I'm now one of just a handful of Americans to ever do so. Here in Austria, I'm no longer a member of the Wiener Philharmoniker... they now say I am a Wiener Philharmoniker.
Although they'll probably never read this, I want to thank my colleagues, both trombone and otherwise, for this great privilege and for their friendships. I can't believe I get paid to get up every day and make music with you.
And most importantly, I am truly humbled every day by the blessings God pours out on me and my family, and this one is no exception. I am eternally filled with wonder and gratitude, and I owe everything to Him.