Become a Pops’ Musician

Are you interested in performing with the California Pops Orchestra? Get started by sending an email to Pops’ Executive Director Alicia Wilmunder that describes your musical background, along with information on recent performances or engagements. Below are some details on the Pops’ process for recruiting new musicians and performers.

Musician Preview Process

The California Pops wants to provide the best opportunity it can for every musician in the orchestra. We do our best to ensure that all members will truly enjoy the Pops experience and thus contribute to our performance excellence.

Maestro Kim Venaas meets with interested musicians to introduce the California Pops Orchestra and preview their skills. A previewing musician may perform as a soloist, with accompaniment, in a small ensemble (duet/trio) or have an opportunity to play one or two Pops selections with Kim.

Preview auditions will be announced, publicized and completed one month prior to the start of each concert rehearsal period, as well as during the Pops’ summer hiatus.

Orchestra Seating Process

Principal players are selected directly by the Pops’ Conductor Kim Venaas. Section seating is determined jointly by each section’s Principal Chair, the Conductor, and the Pops’ Talent Manager using criteria listed below.

General Seating Factors

  • Level of experience
  • Technical skill
  • Performance quality
  • Attendance (absences and/or lateness)

Standards to Be Met by Principals

  • High performance standards, playing accuracy, intonation, dynamics, tempos, and entrances
  • Experience in handling a wide range of styles; ability to adapt quickly to unusual arrangements
  • Ability to promote and assist others to develop the section
  • Skill in organizing and leading sectionals (as needed)
  • Availability to work with the Talent Manager regarding musician prospects, recruits and future openings
  • Experience performing and rehearsing designated solo passages; willingness to obtain outside coaching on solos and difficult passages as needed