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Most people think of an orchestra as being comprised of the musicians seen on stage during performances. In reality, however, many different types of people are needed to make orchestral performances successful. There are a number of orchestra jobs available as performers, conductors and instructors as well as in a handful of odd jobs.
Naturally, many orchestra jobs are in the performance arena and can be categorized by instrument or voice. The different instruments and voices will be divided into sections, each of which is headed by a section principal. The principal is responsible for leading the members of his or her section and plays or sings any solos for that instrument or voice. The principal of the first violin section is called the concertmaster or concert leader and has additional responsibilities, including occasionally leading rehearsals. These positions may be advertised either as soloists or as principals.
Orchestra jobs apart from section principals and soloists are called tutti players, which is Italian for "together." These players are responsible for learning music in time for rehearsals and implementing changes requested by the section leader or conductor as needed. When a principal or soloist position opens up, tutti players may be given the opportunity to audition for the position.
Another highly visible part of the orchestra is the conductor. The conductor is responsible for making sure the whole orchestra stays together during performances and for managing the dynamics of the piece. In order to do this, he or she must have a good understanding of each instrument's part and of how the various parts fit into the whole.
Less visible but still highly important to the orchestral process, especially in opera, is the repetiteur. The word Repetiteur is French for "repeater" or "rehearser." This person works with individual musicians, especially voice soloists, on technique and musical development,and may be called upon to lead rehearsals. Repetiteurs must be highly skilled musicians and teachers.
There are a few other orchestra jobs that are not necessarily directly related to the performance. Most metropolitan orchestras have a library of recordings, programs, scrapbooks and other media that must be maintained by an archivist. This person should be both knowledgeable about music and skilled in library upkeep. Orchestras also require administrators, salespeople, accountants and other general business people. Having knowledge of music and of the orchestral process is an asset to anyone applying for one of these types of jobs.