Astral Artists

Produced by Karen Smyles

Astral Artists was founded in 1992 by Vera Wilson and is a non-profit organization that plays a vital role in the discovery and development of the nation’s most gifted classical musicians. Selected from a nationwide pool of applicants at competitive annual auditions, Astral artists are provided with invaluable career development guidance; debuts in Philadelphia; numerous performance opportunities via Astral’s critically acclaimed concert series; collaborations with world-renowned musicians; auditions for major presenters, managers, and conductors; and world premieres of compositions written for them and commissioned by Astral. Astral reaches nearly 15,000 community members annually through concerts and extensive community engagement programming.

January 2015, Friday Arts was invited to a behind the scenes look at the live audition process. Talented, young musicians from around the country came to Temple University’s Rock Hall for the opportunity to obtain a coveted spot on the Astral Artists roster. We spent two days capturing the excitement and left wondering how they would ever decide who to put through.

In addition to shooting the actual auditions we had the opportunity to speak with some, including Viktor Valkov, who had just flew in from Texas. Viktor went on to be signed by Astral and we had a chance to talk with him as he prepared for this exciting step in his career.

We also talk with Vera Wilson about her goals for the future of Astral, and Julia Rubio, Executive Director, discusses how Astral works to prepare these musicians for the prominent positions they are sure to hold in the world of classical music.

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