Season 1 | Episode 19
Oct 17, 2019

Instrument of sabotage

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In the cutthroat world of professional classical music, Eric Abramovitz was headed towards a shining career. Until something — or someone — got in the way.

The realm of professional classical music is very small … and very competitive.

In school, musicians spend hours and hours rehearsing, hanging out and auditioning together. There’s a lot of camaraderie, but things can turn sour when they run up against the harsh reality of finding work.

“Jobs are so scarce,” clarinetist Eric Abramovitz said. “Ultimately we’re all competing against each other.”

Abramovitz was aware of that back in 2013 when he was auditioning for the Colburn Conservatory of Music, an elite school in LA. His then-girlfriend, a flute player, encouraged him to try for the lone open spot with one of the most sought-after clarinet teachers in the world. It was a full ride, a fast track to a career Abramowitz might not otherwise be able to afford.

For months, he hit the practice room every night, drilling songs and scales for hours on end in preparation for the 15-minute audition.

Ultimately, none of that mattered. And in unraveling what went wrong, Abramovitz realized his dreams would come with an unexpected price tag.

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