What Started with a Dream, Became a Reality

Tuba /Euphonium recent graduate Mason Soria admits to pinching himself to check if it was all real. His high school dream of winning a tuba audition in a full-time orchestra came true. Not once, but twice this year!
Mason Soria

Tuba player Mason Soria, 23, checked all the boxes on his dream wish list. Last month, he secured a full-time tuba position with the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic, better known as LA Phil, with world-renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel. The great news came just a few months after becoming an associate member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, and after winning a principal tuba position with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Looking back, he says, “what started with a dream, became a reality.”

Soria, who graduated from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami last May, will officially start with the LA Phil in September of this year. With this new position, he will return to Los Angeles, where he was born in Burbank and spent the first five years of his life before moving to Frisco, Texas.

It was during his junior year in high school, when he played for the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, that his dream of playing tuba in a “top 5” major symphony orchestra in America began to rise to the top of his list.

When we caught up with Soria in early July, he was playing at the Aspen Music Festival. His schedule was hectic but nothing like he expects it to be, later this fall. How did he get here? He found that to be a good question. “Lots and lots of practice,” he laughs. “It has taken a lot of time to get to where I am today in trying to perfect my craft. I have had extremely great teachers and have taken as many opportunities as I could.”

Tuba/Euphonium Associate Professor, Aaron Tindall, remembers Soria as a model student who never shied away from adopting a “pro-mind set” to playing the tuba. “One thing that I admire about Mason is that he is one of those rare people who truly had a “get it done and whatever it takes, I will do it” attitude.  Since his time at Frost, he had been a tireless “hard” worker both academically and musically speaking. Deeply impactful was the level of excitement, freshness, and total commitment to his art that he embraced daily, unwavering on his commitment of pursuing excellence.”

As a teacher, Tindall finds it exhilarating to experience this kind of success alongside an engaged student. The tuba studio at Frost is chock full of these types, and Mason has been a true leader. “This coveted position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is perhaps the largest scale job that has opened for our instrument in the last 15 years,” explains Tindall. “It is no surprise at all that he won the audition, let alone being the winner of two orchestra auditions in the period of five months. We are all excited to watch his career unfold!” 

Soria’s road to success has not been easy. For starters, the tuba is a hard instrument to control, and the audition process is riddled with obstacles, so there’s the added pressure to be constantly flawless in your playing, he says.

Looking ahead with great anticipation, he hopes his accomplishments will inspire other Frost students to work hard on their craft and stick to their goals. “I was a student not too long ago,” he says. “I’m just a fairly normal guy, with a big dream, that’s all.”