What: Paul Macres, bass player for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Film by: UNO student and filmmaker Maggie Thibadeaux
Editor’s Note: Every semester, NolaVie and UNO partner up to bring culture, community, and education together. Working with Professor Laszlo Fulop and his Documentary Production students at the University of New Orleans, NolaVie pairs students with cultural organizations in New Orleans, and the student creates a short documentary for that organization. This video was produced by Maggie Thibadeaux, a student in the Introduction to Documentary Production class (School of the Arts – Department of Film at the University of New Orleans).
My name is Paul Macres, and I play the bass. I play the bass with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. I’ve been here for seven years. I’m originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota, home of the Moccasins. I grew up there, and then I went to school in New York; after that, I went to Rice University. I lived in LA for a few years freelancing. When I was in LA, I auditioned for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012, and here I am.
What brought me here was the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. I play with them full-time. It’s a 32-36 week season. We start in the middle of September, and we go until May.
We have rehearsals during the week — Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays — and then we have one or two concerts over the weekend, maybe three at the Orpheum or Mahalia Jackson.
Through the orchestra, I also teach at a few different schools, notably Homer Plessy, which is down in the French Quarter. Then I have my own private studio here in New Orleans, where I teach anywhere from 10-year-olds to 70-year-olds. I have a wide range of students.
A few of my colleagues from the symphony have a string quartet that travels around Louisiana and plays weddings. Sometimes we go busking in the French Quarter, which is pretty fun. My colleague, Hannah, has a lot of really cool arrangements of pop tunes, ranging from the Beatles to Ed Sheeran to Muse to Guns and Roses. We play all over the place, and we’re trying to actually expand our business.
Any orchestral audition, there’s a lot of competition because there aren’t many jobs out there. There’s only maybe 30 full-time symphonies in the US that you could make a living off of. Classical auditions for orchestras, they’re all behind a screen, so you have no idea who’s listening to you behind the screen, and subsequently, they have no idea who they’re listening to. Totally blind, totally fair, so there’s no nepotism involved.