Alumni Spotlight

Adam Rainey / Class of 2008 / Kansas City Symphony

adamrainey.jpgLYO Music Director Jason Seber recently spoke with Adam Rainey about his new position with the Kansas City Symphony playing bass trombone:

What years were you in the LYO?  Were you in the Symphony Orchestra every year or did you spend some time in Repertory Orchestra as well?

I started LYO in the fall of 2003. I was the only trombone in the Repertory orchestra and Darko Butorac was the conductor at the time. I have very fond memories of playing Dvorak symphony no. 8! The following year I moved into Symphony. I spent the first year under Robert Franz and the next three with you for a total of five years, ending in 2008.


It must be a very rewarding experience to be the Bass Trombone player of the Kansas City Symphony.  What do you enjoy about your new position?

Kansas City is a wonderful city full of art, music, and economic growth. Thanks to generous community support, we have a beautiful hall in which to perform (The Kauffman Center). I feel the symphony is quite special in that the musicians play with an abundance of energy. The audiences really enjoy our concerts and appreciate our efforts. They often personally thank the musicians after a performance.


What was your audition like for the job?  Describe that process, and maybe a little about your audition routine in general.

The audition was very standard. We were provided a list of all the excerpts and solos they wanted us to play approximately two months before the audition. I studied the pieces and sought help from my teacher. Oddly enough, the audition committee asked to hear the exposition from the Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 (very unusual to play a horn piece in a trombone audition). Since my sister is a horn player and won the LYO concerto competition on that very piece, I was confident that I knew it well.

There were three rounds in the audition: Prelims, Semis, and Finals. Each round of the audition was blind; all performers played behind a screen. For the preliminary round we were all given random numbers for identification and were grouped. After everyone in each group played the requested pieces for the judges, they announced which numbers advanced to the semi-final round.  There were many players auditioning and it took most of the day to hear everyone in the preliminary round. All those that advanced were asked to report back the following morning for the next round.

The semi-finals and finals followed the same procedure as the previous day with one exception. The second and third rounds were MUCH longer. (Tip: Always bring some food with you. You can wait a long time before you play.) I played my Semi round and thought I did horribly. To my surprise they advanced me anyway. I was so excited!

This was the first time in taking auditions that I made it to the final round. After a day and a half of the audition process, I decided to just relax and have fun….besides I was too tired to be nervous! I was asked to play the Strauss Horn Concerto, (along with a pianist whom I had never met), and then the committee’s complete list of excerpts. It was very taxing on my stamina.

Once everyone played in the final round, the judges met and then the winner was announced. I was shocked and speechless. I am now the youngest member of the Kansas City Symphony.

Side note: I was later told by the audition committee that my performance of the Strauss Concerto was one of the highlights of my audition. It pays to listen and learn from other musicians!


Are you rooting for the Kansas City Royals in the World Series?  What’s it like right now in KC?

I've never been a baseball fan or a big sports fan, in general. The only time I pay attention to sports is when college basketball kicks in. Go Cards! But I am rooting for the Royals. I love how this team is breaking the 29 year curse! And everyone in KC is so supportive of the Royals! There is a lot of camaraderie!


What are your favorite barbecue joints that we should check out if we ever come to the city?

My favorite BBQ is Jack Stack. The Crown ribs are to die for! Just don't stuff your face before you play a concert!


What kinds of things do you feel you learned/experienced in your years of LYO that helped prepare you for a career as a professional musician?

Many of the major orchestral pieces that I played in LYO are scheduled in my current season. The LYO is a great environment to learn about orchestral music.  Once you learn a piece, you will be able to play it again without questioning yourself and you will continue to grow as a player. Having fun with friends and learning every Sunday was quite a blessing. I attended Trinity High School which had no concert band. The time I spent in LYO was extremely instrumental in my musical career.


Any words of advice for our current LYO members?

Enjoy what you do and give your best effort. The study of music teaches us many life skills. Whatever you want to do, music or not, you must work hard for your own success. Never accept mediocrity. Be the best you can be and have fun.


What are some of your other hobbies/interests besides playing the bass trombone?

I love painting, sketching and doing other types of art. My other guilty pleasure are video games….especially ones with fantastic design and music soundtracks!


Thanks Adam!  And congratulations again on your position with the Kansas City Symphony!