Has Pittsburgh’s Symphony Gone to the Dogs?

A recent Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra audition went to the dogs, as canines and their handlers vied for roles in an upcoming performance of Leopold Mozart’s Hunting Horn Symphony.

“I think [the Hunting Horn Symphony] is a tongue in cheek representation of the sport,” said Bob Lauver, second hornist in the PSO. “It’s actually scored for four hunting horns, string orchestra, dogs, and guns.”

Auditionees had to first submit a video clip via YouTube which showed that the dogs could sit, stay, bark, and be silent on command. Out of 11 video applicants, 10 pooches were chosen as finalists for the live auditions at Heinz Hall. At the audition, each pup came onstage with its handler. While an excerpt of the recording played, resident conductor Fawzi Haimor cued handlers, who then signaled the animals to bark.

The audition panel consisted of the aforementioned Lauver and his fellow horn comrade Ron Schneider; Dan Rossi, executive director of the Animal Rescue League, and Kristen Lane, director of marketing and public relations of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. The panel members judged the dogs’ abilities to bark on command, project their sound, and stay still.

In the end, five furry competitors made the cut – Jetty, Grizzly, Sonny, Seargant Preston, and Bailey. The final dog, Bailey, created some controversy among the panel members who eventually chose him for his handsome appearance rather than the power of his bark.

The five finalists will perform with the orchestra at the 55th Annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival on June 9 at 7 p.m. And if you’d like to check out the prospective pooches, take a look at the video below.

via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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