Be in no doubt, orchestral administration boards are at war with their players.
Times are still tough. Many folks have lost jobs and homes. Orchestral musicians want to do their part in these lean times.
Many US orchestras are in the midst of contract ‘negotiations’. Many players have offered generous concessions in pay and benefit reductions. These negotiations on the part of the administrations are increasingly of the ‘take it or leave it’ variety. It began in Wisconsin, manifested itself orchestrally in Detroit, and is continuing in St. Paul, Atlanta and now Minnesota. And, I’m hearing rumblings of the same practices about to be foisted on many other US orchestras.
The passage to a job in a professional orchestra is tricky. To begin, only 1/50 get into good music colleges, 99% of those don’t make their full time living performing, and only 1% of that very talented 1% make professional symphony orchestras. They’re special musicians. Very highly trained. Pay them. Fairly. Imposing a 40K reduction in salary as I just read about the Minnesota Orchestra or in the case of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, a 67% pay cut, is simply unacceptable. Maybe the orchestras should reassemble and fire the board? There’s an idea (call the LSO, they’ll show you how to run your own orchestra).
In the here and now, boards, figure it out. YOU take a pay cut, and there are a lot of wonderful four figure conductors and soloists out there. Plan better. 40K conductors and soloists can take a pay cut, too.
The players want to pay their share, YOU do your job. Locking out artists such as members of the Atlanta Symphony and cutting their medical (after offering 4 million in reductions) is not how Beethoven would have handled it. Right?