When last I wrote about all the strikes, I mentioned Minnesota was up next on the chopping block. And here they are, locked out. They face a similar dilemma as what struck Detroit- not just normal costs, but they started a costly building process, got donations to cover it, but many are calling into question if they should have done a fierce campaign for that over building up their general fund. I don't have enough info to make a decision, but generally I feel like building any operating funds is more important, unless the building is in really bad shape.
And it looks like Atlanta took a deal. from the intro reading, it looks bad. It looks like musicians took a 16.5% pay cut from the base starting salary. What that means for veteran players, i don't know. And top management brass, who were making in excess of $300,000, took roughly a 6% decrease (that's 6% total, not from each person, so however that works out). They also decided to leave vacant posts vacant, not give backpay, and make no alterations to anyone else's pay. They also cut 10 weeks from the season, cut 5 full time positions, and require payment into benefits (which means the pay cut is, in reality, more than 16.5%, depending on how much they pay in). Yep, good deal. Here are details from the management press release
Atlanta musicians gave in too early. But there isn't a safety net for musicians. Management across the country is betting, hoping, that musicians will cave. And it looks like they are.
These are major problems- everything facing the orchestras effects all classical musicians. Hell, it effects all musicians. These fights decide what people feel the arts are worth, as a society.
Whether or not I am an orchestral musician doesn't matter. Whether or not I'll ever WRITE for orchestra doesn't matter. My opinion of the orchestra being little more than museum matters slightly, since I view it as one of the issues they face. But even that doesn't matter as far as being a reason to not look at the problem. It's something we need, as a society of musicians, classical, pop, or jazz, have to examine.
And that's the issue.
Since these lockouts have begun, I've never heard anyone say anything in my music course.
The teacher hasn't said anything.
When i brought it up to some students, they had no idea any orchestra was locked out. How can you, as a violinist getting a doctorate, actively looking for audition opportunities, not know?
I'm seeing the Ivory tower acutely these days- little music students locking themselves in their practice rooms, in their studios, in their classrooms, blind to the world changing around them.
We need to talk about it, keep talking about it, everyone in this wide society in music. We need to talk about why these groups are having the financial problems- identify the problems, see what their answers are, analyze their answers and come up with our own. Because while there are unique challenges to groups that large, some of the issues translate to a single person, just trying to make a name for himself.