We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'll admit I'm not much of a fan of the musical arts, particularly symphony or opera. It's never appealed to me. I don't dislike it, I'm just not a fan. I attended my town's symphony orchestra (not an official symphony orchestra, as it's part-time), and it was a good way to spend two hours of a Saturday evening and socialize. But I have to admit I would've rather been home watching my Syracuse Orangemen play Duke in basketball (they lost, and it was a great game). That's just how my tastes have evolved.
Tonight I watched the Kansas City Symphony play the national anthem at Game 6 of the World Series. I began to wonder, if you're a trained musician and you don't make a major orchestra, do you begin trying out for smaller city orchestras? I had no idea. I suppose you begin looking for seats in various cities until you can find one. Then I wondered whether it's lucrative work.
These are extremely difficult jobs. While I may not be deeply involved in the symphony, I am well aware how hard it is to be good enough to be asked to join one, especially the best (Boston, Philadelphia, New York, etc.). That said, how much could it pay?
I was rather surprised. I didn't expect them to live on subsistence wages, but it makes me wish I'd had a greater appreciation for music (and the talent to go along with it) in my youth.
and tbh salaries should be even lower, or there should be less orchestras.
The only reason there are so many is that they're massively subsidised "to promote culture", with very few people interested in paying even the artificially low price (due to those subsidies) to attend a performance.
While sad, it's supply and demand.
If there's 500 orchestras each trying to put on a performance for 1000 people 50 times a year, but there's only a few thousand people interested in paying to attend such a performance and that maybe twice a year, there's just too much supply, too many orchestras, too many musicians.
Actually, many of them did, and the main reason they chose to pursue it is the state propping up salaries making these jobs look somewhat lucrative.
I'm not sure these things wouldn't survive without state support. Furthermore, I'm unsure how much state support goes to the arts (I know there is some, just not how much).
It absolutely props up salaries for these musicians, and not justifiably. However, I don't think it props up all of them equally. My local town symphony is completely privately funded, and is quite successful on its own. So some could survive, it's just a question of who their benefactors would be - or if there are any.
If all symphonies went away tomorrow, I doubt I'd notice. I'm still humming tunes from a Foo Fighters concert I went to 2 years ago, but not from the symphony I attended earlier this year.
That doesn't mean the loss of symphonies is a good thing. I think it would be rather sad, actually. But I still don't think that justifies taking my tax money to support something I don't care too much about.
Yes -- what most orchestral music performance graduates do is apply for every salaried full-time post that comes up -- sending resume, references, and audio-recording of the requested "excerpts" from the particularly difficult bits of the repertoire for their instrument.
In big orchestras like Chicago or Phila, there will be many "straight out of school" applicants, but also many applicants also playing in regional or minor orchestras who want to move up the higher-paying, higher-prestige, and more musically satisfying gig. Graduates will also audition for and play in the part-time "per service" orchestras, and many of these orchestras that only give 10 to 12 concerts a year will coordinate their schedules with similar orchestras within 3-hours or so of travel distance so that they will not be in conflict. It is not at all uncommon to be a member simultaneously of 3 or even 4 part-time orchestras.
I've seen a lot of people go through 2 or three years of applications and auditions and not get an offer. Some will then go into teaching, some will become insurance agents.
Maybe I'm weird but I like lots of music types (genre?). I get crazy looks when I pay for classical, country, blues, jazz and bluegrass at the same time. However, my favorite is Bluegrass and my favorite band is Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. I do attend the Atlanta Symphony and have seen Ricky and the guys perform with them at Chastain Park in Atlanta.
"The potential for a stable career with excellent job security, salary and benefits. The base scale pay for members of the top American orchestras (Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia) is approximately $2000+/week (minimum guaranteed scale). These orchestras typically offer 10 weeks paid vacation, full medical and dental coverage, generous sick leave, a pension (after 30 years service or the "rule of 85" which provides a full pension to players whose age and years of service combined equal 85) of over $70,000/year, and many other excellent benefits. After passing an initial probationary period (of one to three years depending on the orchestra's policy), tenured members enjoy job protection and security as members of the American Federation of Musicians. Dismissal can only be made for cause which must be proven to an arbitration panel, often made up of peer members of the orchestra."
100 grand/year and medical benefits and 10 weeks vacation is a 'subsistence wage'?
I live on much less than that. I am quickly developing an inferiority complex here at Maggie's.