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 The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: John J. Moses (---.nj.res.rr.com - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-17 23:02

Hi Friends:

Check out this recent YouTube video made by the musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra (Frank Cohen is seen at 1:55) in the their efforts to save their Orchestra.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WChnif1kIaU

JJM
Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: rcnelson (---.clv.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Berea, OH United States)
Date:   2010-01-17 23:49

Being a resident of the Cleveland area, we are so blessed to have this ensemble as part of us. I can not imagine another orchestra being any better. Thanks, John for posting this.

Ron
Selmer Mark VI tenor (1957), Selmer Mark VII alto (1975)
Buescher True Tone soprano (1924), Selmer CL210 Bb Clarinet, Gemeinhardt Flute, Mertes Piccolo


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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: factorymill (---.pools.spcsdns.net - ISP in Atlanta, GA United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 16:18

There is more interesting reading on the Cleveland Orchestra Musicians' web page-- http://www.clevelandorchestramusicians.org/

And today, apparently, the strike has come to pass--- http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aOJZrM4EzcOM

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 17:14

According to the artical: "Median musician pay in Cleveland in 2009 was $140,200, the orchestra said, which would drop to $134,100 in the first year of a new contract. Benefits include 10 weeks of paid vacation.

The orchestra said in an e-mailed statement that full pay would be restored in the second year of the contract and increase 2.5 percent in the third. The orchestra’s board said that it’s disappointed by the strike, which affects 101 musicians. "

As a retired teacher, who--after 34 yrs experiance--earned less than half of the second salary figure cited and with NO paid vacation days, I don't consider the managements offer to be that unfair, considering current economic conditions. Jobs are being lost everywhere and those with employment are being asked to do more with less tax payers dollars available--especially in the public sector. I would say, quite whining, start practicing and get back to work.......things are tough all over.



Post Edited (2010-01-18 17:44)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: J. J. (---.hsd1.dc.comcast.net - ISP in Washington, DC United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 20:09

While I generally feel as if there is a sense of entitlement that classical musicians sometimes have, I have to say that William's comments smack of jealousy rather than substance. Yes, there's been an economic downturn, but the relationship of your pay to theirs is irrelevant. These are, quite literally, the best in the world at what they do. Exactly what role do you think unions should have? Should they just cave? Should the musicians not speak out? If using every tool available to them is "whining," I'm not sure anyone should ever fight back against management. Most people would choose to do the same thing.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: John J. Moses (---.nj.res.rr.com - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-18 20:29

Well, Mr. William Fuller, I'm happy for you as a teacher, a most honorable profession.

I'll be sure to send your comments to Frank Cohen, my friend and fellow clarinetist. I'm sure he will appreciate hearing your thoughts as he and his colleagues in Cleveland prepare for what may be a long work stoppage.

"As a retired teacher, who--after 34 yrs experiance--earned less than half of the second salary figure cited and with NO paid vacation days, I don't consider the managements offer to be that unfair, considering current economic conditions. Jobs are being lost everywhere and those with employment are being asked to do more with less tax payers dollars available--especially in the public sector. I would say, quite whining, start practicing and get back to work.......things are tough all over."

I personally have been involved in strikes on Broadway, at the NYC Opera, in St. Louis with the Symphony, and in NJ, where as chairman of the Orchestra's Negotiating Committee, I was fired for our stand against an unfair management proposal. It's always easier to sit in a comfortable place and pass judgment on others, but it's real hard when you're living it!

JJM
Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: USFBassClarinet (---.97-97.tampabay.res.rr.com - ISP in Largo, FL United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 20:47

Just out of curiosity, what is the average pay for the other big orchestras in the U.S? and how much more do they really make considering Cost of Living?
Seems like they would be about even with COL differences?

Cleveland has always been one of my favorites to listen to, but I have yet to hear them live. My next favorite being across the big blue.



Post Edited (2010-01-18 21:01)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Liquorice (---.adslplus.ch - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-18 21:14

"Having titled players from other major orchestras compete for section positions in Cleveland"

What would be the incentive for those titled players? We can disregarding salaries because they are not that competitive and are currently under review. Does the Cleveland Orchestra consider itself to be THAT much superior to other major orchestras?

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: John J. Moses (---.nj.res.rr.com - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-18 21:27

For Symphonic and Opera Orchestra salaries, go to the ICSOM site.

Here's an example of a well paid professional Orchestra, The NY Met Opera!

http://www.icsom.org/settlement/metopera.html

JJM
Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Liquorice (---.adslplus.ch - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-18 21:43

John- I couldn't find a list of salaries on the ICSOM site. Can you point me in the right direction?

Based on what I know of major orchestra salaries in central Europe, I can't imagine why a principal player would give up his/her job to go and play tutti in the Cleveland Orchestra. Can you explain to me what the attraction would be?

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: ww.player (---.lightspeed.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net - ISP in Bedford, TX United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 21:45

And how many great world class players will Cleveland attract when they are bleeding money and there are constant rumors of the symphony going under?

Times are tough all over. I'm guessing Cleveland is only the tip of the iceberg and most symphonies will be forced to either cut back or close their doors very soon. If I were a player in Cleveland, I would at least be trying to work out a compromise that allowed the symphony to operate but also would include restitution of past concessions and increases of future salaries should the symphony make a financial recovery.

BTW, John J., while unions did serve a great purpose a century ago, they are also directly responsible for contributing to the demise of many US industries, including steel and automobile manufacturing. I would hate to see a lot of professional symphonies go away because the financial base just wasn't there to meet overhead, including player's salaries.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud those that stood up to big business about 7 day work weeks for starvation wages. However, in cases like Major League Baseball where you have millionaires arguing with billionaires for a bigger piece of the pie, I'm not as sympathetic. This squabble seems to be somewhere between those two examples.



Post Edited (2010-01-18 21:46)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 22:00

Jealousy?? I would rather think, *Priority*. The teachers in my old school district are also some of the "best in the world at what they do", passing the vast body of current math, science and literary knowledge forward to the society of tomorrow--all for a medium salary is less than $45,000 per 190 contract days of often more than 10 hours each. No vacation pay. Summers are simply periods of unemployment where most are required either to go back to school for educational improvement (at their own expense) or secondary employment to pay for family expenses. Priority?? My point is: the average classroom teacher in these United States is simply worth more to the intellectual and scientific well-being of our nation and world than a lot of other highly over-paid professionals I could mention--and they should be paid accordingly. $140,000 median muscian pay?? How about double "that" for the "median" grade or high school math, science, phy ed or music teacher??? What is the intelligence of society and it's subsequent higher standard of living worth to you???

Something to consider........the fact that you can read this can be attributed to your elementary school teachers, not the members of the Cleveland, New York or Vienna Orchestras. Think about that.

To JJM--I, too, have walked the picket lines for improved wages and condition of employment for my fellow teachers when the process of collective bargaining became hopelessly broken. We were on strike of over two, cold Wisconsin weeks and in danger of being fired--but our union prevailed and our jobs were saved with some concessions gained, but without "back pay". I've "paid my dues"--don't for one moment think that I have not.



Post Edited (2010-01-18 22:17)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: USFBassClarinet (---.97-97.tampabay.res.rr.com - ISP in Largo, FL United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 22:13

Looking at the ICSOM site, (thanks john) I can't really imagine Cleveland is behind in pay considering that it is more expensive to live in the areas that have higher paying orchestras. As well, is the ICSOM base pay or average pay?

But I am probably wrong and missing something.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Shorewood, IL United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 22:49

"while unions did serve a great purpose a century ago, they are also directly responsible for contributing to the demise of many US industries, including steel and automobile manufacturing."

Well, I don't agree with the last part of that statement; it's so simplistic. I haven't really paid that much attention to the Cleveland Orch. since Szell left but Cleveland, the city, has had some pretty rough economic times and I'm not aware that its improved much. Let's face it, only time will tell if the strike was a smart move.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: GeorgeL (---.hsd1.az.comcast.net - ISP in Tucson, AZ United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 23:16


It really does not matter what we think about their salaries; it does matter what the orchestra members think about them.

If an employer makes an offer, and a worker accepts the offer, the matter is closed. Neither the worker nor the employer may be happy with the amount paid, but the fact that it was offered and accepted indicates they are both willing participants in the arrangement.

In this case, the employer has offered, and the workers have not accepted. In time we will know how they resolve their differences.

PS: The Tucson Symphony Orchestra last week announced it was reducing next year's concerts by one third, and (I assume) reducing member pay (which is nowhere near the Cleveland level) by the same amount.



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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: stevesklar (---.try.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Royal Oak, MI United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 23:29

Cleveland isn't the only one. Detroit Michigan and in Ohio, Columbus too.

The links no longer work but i've included excerpts taken when the pages were available.

Well it looks like the DSO is getting shocked in this economy around here. With Detroit city having a feasible 50% unemployment rate and the suburbs probably close to 30% and the BIG 3 auto companies at one time supplementing alot of artistic venues, the DSO is now getting involved in the domino effect.

http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic...te=fullarticle

excerpt

Quote:
Simply put, earned revenue and fund-raising are not keeping up with expenses, and the pressures are increasing. Contractual salary increases to the musicians will add $1.4 million to the payroll this year. At the same time, the banks that hold the DSO’s $54 million in long-term real estate debt are concerned about the orchestra’s viability and are pushing leaders to reduce costs. Annual interest payments on the Max M. Fisher Music Center are $2.4 million.

....
The DSO responded with severe cost-cutting maneuvers, including layoffs in March, September and October that amounted to 30 percent of the staff — 26 full-time and 15 part-time positions — and across-the-board pay cuts of 5 or 10 percent for staff. The orchestra also trimmed its number of concerts and killed its annual festival, Eight Days in June, once seen as the lynchpin in its quest to reach new audiences.

....
All metro Detroit arts institutions have been hard hit by the economic downturn, as declining individual, corporate and government funding and soft ticket sales are putting enormous pressure on every bottom line. General Motors’ and Chrysler’s decisions to pull all of their local arts funding was an especially lethal blow.

__________________

If the Columbus Symphony -- facing a $1.5 million deficit after a record deficit of $2.2 million the previous season -- were cut from 53 to 31 full-time players and its number of performances were reduced, the lives of musicians would change.

Some could continue as full-time players, while others might be engaged on a per-concert basis only.

The downsizing proposal by the symphony board and management will be discussed between now and the end of August, when the musicians' contract expires.

Read the rest of the article: <http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/co ... ml’sid=101>

==========
Stephen Sklar
My clarinets, My Little World of Clarinet Information

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: mrn (---.tx.res.rr.com - ISP in Mesquite, TX United States)
Date:   2010-01-18 23:47

USFBassClarinet wrote:

> Just out of curiosity, what is the average pay for the other
> big orchestras in the U.S? and how much more do they really
> make considering Cost of Living?

The data in the following link is a little out of date, but probably still pretty valid.

http://www.adaptistration.com/2009/06/05/2009-compensation-report-concertmasters/

When I tried punching in some of these figures into one of those cost of living calculators on the web, it appeared that, when adjusted for cost of living, the musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra are probably the best paid orchestra musicians in the whole country.

I can't fault the Cleveland musicians for not wanting to take a paycut, though. Who wants to take a cut in salary?

At the same time, however, I can't help but question whether the position the musicians are taking is realistic, particularly the idea that this temporary paycut measure will degrade the quality of the orchestra by discouraging good players from considering seeking employment with the Cleveland Orchestra. If there were really enough good-paying full-time orchestra openings out there for somebody to turn their nose up at Cleveland because the pay was too low, I'd have tried to make a go at a professional orchestra career, myself. The problem is that there just aren't that many spots--and virtually none that pay what Cleveland pays.

And as for comparing major symphony players to teachers, I think by making the argument they are, the musicians of TCO have basically invited such comparisons. The argument the politicians always make is that our education system would be better if we paid teachers more, because you have to have sufficiently high pay to attract the most talented people--exactly the same argument as the TCO musicians are making. It's a debatable argument, even with regard to teachers (I had some great teachers, for instance--clearly some people just "follow their bliss" and don't worry about the money). But at least with teachers, there are enough teaching positions out there that with higher pay, some talented people whose only reservation about going into teaching is salary might find it worth their while to choose teaching as a profession if the pay was good enough. (Teaching isn't that bad, actually. What you give up in salary is often made up for, at least in part, with job stability and decent benefits--at least it used to be this way)

With top-tier symphony musicians, though, the situation is quite different. There are not enough jobs around and too many applicants for anyone to be that selective about where they apply. Perhaps there are not enough sufficiently talented applicants out there to fill these few spots, either (as the recent failure to hire new principal clarinetists in several top orchestras suggests), but a slight percentage difference in salaries between a handful of orchestras is really not going to be enough inducement to convince some hidden talent in the amateur world to give up computer programming or practicing medicine so they can practice 4-6 hours a day and audition for TCO. And for people already in top-tier orchestras, money isn't the only factor at play, either--Ricardo Morales' not wanting to leave Philadelphia is a case in point. He probably would have made more money in Chicago.

(The other thing that the whole NY Phil/CSO audition episode has demonstrated is that if any musician thinks they are good enough to be able to just walk into any major orchestra in the country they want to and get any job they want, they've got a pretty overly-inflated ego. It's tough to get a good orchestra job, even for the best players in the country.)

Incidentally, this same argument regarding the need for the best talent is also used to justify the obscenely high salaries made by some of the birdbrained corporate executives who helped get us into this economic mess in the first place. Clearly that sort of economic reasoning, while theoretically valid up to a point, can only be taken so far. At some point fiscal reality has to set in.

So while I don't question the motives of the TCO musicians and I certainly don't wish to pass judgment on them, I do have to question whether they are fully in touch with the economic realities surrounding their situation. One post from the musicians' blog really stood out to me in this regard. If you click the below link, you will see a post from a Lisa Boyko, violist. She claims that the ~$140,000 average compensation figures in the orchestra's e-mail press release are overly inflated and that "[t]he salary figure published was not the base salary currently under discussion, but probably that of the highest-paid and most senior principal player."

[Edit -- oops, forgot the link. Here it is http://www.clevelandorchestramusicians.org/blog/]

Clearly neither she nor (apparently) many of the other musicians in the orchestra (because obviously nobody did anything about her having posted what she said) have a realistic idea of what kinds of paychecks their fellow orchestra members are bringing home. In the 2006-07 season, TCO's concertmaster's annual compensation was $478,079, the highest in the country (in real dollars, not just purchasing power)! (see the first link above)

IMHO, the only way for the best-paying orchestra in the land (or one of them, anyway) to maintain consistently high artistic standards is to basically do what Szell did, which was to insist on a certain level of excellence from everyone (it also takes having a director with the talent of someone like Szell, who knows what that level of excellence sounds like). The ironic thing, in light of what the musicians are now arguing, is that in Cleveland's heyday, under Szell, the musicians didn't have it nearly as great as they do now. They didn't have 52-week contracts (I think if I read TCO's website correctly, they went to a 52-week season in 1968) with 10 weeks of paid vacation time (which is pretty much unheard of in other professions, I might add), and Szell was famous for firing musicians who, in his opinion, didn't cut it (so obviously they didn't have a tenure system--I wonder if they have one now).

Not that I would want them to go back to running everything the way it was in Szell's day--I think pro orchestra players deserve to be paid commensurate with their high level of training--but I do think there's something to be said for the old-fashioned idea that the music's got to come first. In my opinion, Cleveland's stated goal of hiring a bunch of famous people or "titled players," as they call them, is not the way to build a great orchestra. Whatever happened to hiring *good* players who can play well together as an ensemble? When did name recognition trump musical talent?



Post Edited (2010-01-19 13:23)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: stevesklar (---.try.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Royal Oak, MI United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 00:15

I look at it in a simply way which many have had to do. When revenue (ticket sales, donotions, etc) do not equal expenses (salaries, venues, etc) then something has to change.

It either changes or decides to fold.

It's nothing against unions, or the professionals. It's simply reality.

edited: I found a live link for the Detroit SO and their economic troubles
http://detnews.com/article/20091211/ENT04/912110323/$3.7-million-deficit-puts-DSO-in-a-bind

==========
Stephen Sklar
My clarinets, My Little World of Clarinet Information

Post Edited (2010-01-19 00:20)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: GBK (---.dyn.optonline.net - ISP in Sag Harbor, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 00:18

A comprehensive list of orchestral salaries:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ai0UaGoQ2OY/Rok8m9B0CsI/AAAAAAAAAiA/6vkzBFmLS8E/s1600-h/ICSOM-CM.jpg

Interesting to see that the concertmaster usually makes about 3x the musician base salary.

...GBK

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: John J. Moses (---.nj.res.rr.com - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-19 00:41

Thanks for the ICSOM chart GBK, I couldn't easily find it.

There's a new ICSOM Directory just out for 2009.

That will bring all who are interested up to date as your link shows salaries from 2007, a good comparison chart none the less!

JJM
Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: FDF (---.eriepa.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Erie, PA United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 00:58

Artists in general are usually expected to create without care of financial gain. Hence the term: starving artists. Artists who are well paid and at the top of their profession should be supported by those of us who choose to teach or become employed in another field. The crème de la crème will make it possible for more musicians (the rest of us) to earn a living from our talent. We should all support the Cleveland musicians and understand that they are also supporting us.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ed Palanker (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Fredericton, NB Canada)
Date:   2010-01-19 04:07

According to my ISCOM chart, last year, 08-09, the starting salary in Cleveland was $115.500. The salary chart from 2007 is no longer realistic. Several orchestra have taken pay cuts since than, including us in Baltimore. The great thing about the musicians union is that without it we would be back in the 40s and 50s when a conductor could fire a player on the spot. There was no job security before union contracts. Because of the musicians unions in the USA a player can no longer be fired because the conductor doesn't like the way they dress, or because of their sex or color or if they missed one note at a rehearsal. I think you get the idea. The unions may not be perfect but without them our lives would be hell. At least now we have some recourse if a new conductor comes in to an orchestra and wants to clean house and bring in players from elsewhere. The unions have also given orchestra the right to have fair, behind the screen, auditions so at least in most cases, the best players, regardless of what they look like, have the best chance of winning the auditions unlike years past. The orchestra players now have the right to negotiate the hiring, tenure and firing requirements in their contract.
Several years ago when we got a new conductor he tried to fire six players without saying a single word to them about what he disliked about their playing, not a word (no, I wasn't one of them). Because of our union contract he was told he would have to meet with the players at least three times in the season to discuss what he disliked and give the players a chance to correct what he didn't like. Those players therefore could not be fired then. That never would have happened without a union contract. That doesn't mean no one can be fired, it just means that it has to be fair and unbiased based on performance. It's a difficult enough profession without having to worry about being fired for any reason at any time any where. Think Szell and Reiner to mention just a few for those that remember the "good old days". ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2010-01-19 04:35)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Shorewood, IL United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 16:12

"I think pro orchestra players deserve to be paid commensurate with their high level of training"

Like everyone else Pro orchestra players will get paid based on market demand and supply. Despite what some educators proclaim pay is not based on level of training.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in New York, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 16:42

Sadly paradoxical that erstwhile titans of industry in Cleveland wanted an orchestra as the jewel in their crown of wealth and accomplishment. Today the jewel gleams brighter than ever, while today's titans of industry, having mined what wealth they could from the city, now send jobs overseas (or are themselves located overseas). This is truly a country that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.



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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavk, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2010-01-19 17:00

The average salary in the Icelandic symphony is around less than 2300$ per month.

And I would personally rank the Symphony above some(note some) other orchestras in USA paying much higher salary.

The orchestra went on a tour over 10 years ago to USA and the musicians in some orchestras there were getting as much in salary race as they get in base salary.



Post Edited (2010-01-19 17:10)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: John J. Moses (---.nj.res.rr.com - ISP in)
Date:   2010-01-19 17:01

Tentative deal reached in Cleveland, that's a good thing!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/arts/music/20orchestra.html?ref=arts

BRAVO to the the Men & Women of the Cleveland Orchestra for their collective courage & perseverance in getting their Orchestra back to the the people of Ohio and the World, well done!

JJM
Légère Artist
Clark W. Fobes Artist

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in New York, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 17:54

That's a big WHEW, John--it'd be so sad to lose such an outstanding legacy. Interesting, I was reading the "International Musician" today & there was news item after news item about orchestras around the country in negotiation stalemate with management, threatening to walk--but it wasn't until they actually hit the streets that the contracts got settled.

Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out in the musicians' favor, but...that's the way it goes.

I do think it's notable that in the entire thread here, no one raised the possibility that orchestra managements need to be much more creative in cultivating alternative funding sources (although from news accounts this wouldn't apply to Cleveland management, who seem to be pretty creative in revenue-raising); but still, sometimes an orchestra is brought to financial crisis by a moribund or just plain lazy executive and/or board of directors. Blithely prescribing that it should be musicians who take the hit misses the larger picture, as far as I'm concerned.

Bravo Cleveland indeed!

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ed Palanker (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Fredericton, NB Canada)
Date:   2010-01-19 18:40

Ice, I have no doubt that the Icelandic symphony is a first class group. We in Baltimore think we should be paid more too. ESP

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Mark Charette (32.178.242.---)
Date:   2010-01-19 18:47

Not including inflation I have taken a 35% paycut in the last 8 years. I think I should be paid more, too :)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ed Palanker (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Fredericton, NB Canada)
Date:   2010-01-19 19:16

Mark, I agree with you, you should be paid more. Most everyone I know would like to be paid more. Some people would even like to have their jobs back. So what's new? You would like to be paid more, I would like to be paid more, Iceland wishes the Icelandic symphony to be paid more, the Baltimore Opera co. members wish they had their company back. I got to go to my second job now. Bye! ESP  ;)

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2010-01-19 19:17)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: grifffinity (---.hsd1.nj.comcast.net - ISP in Belford, NJ United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 20:05

Quote:

cultivating alternative funding sources


I've worked in financial administration at two medium sized performance based non-profits in NYC. The majority of funding comes from individuals and foundations, many of which were negatively hurt by the dive in the stock market in 2008. State and federal grants are truly a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money individuals and independent foundations give. The costs to run these organizations is astronomical at the administrative level alone, not to mention the actual artistic expenses that comes along with an orchestra. Executive Directors at the top end organizations make as much as a Concert Master.

Corporate sponsorship, at least the kind we define when watching sports, does not really exist. Many arts organizations are sponsored by banks, high end merchandise (Movado, Rolex, etc.), but all of these sources of advertising income were affected negatively by the down economy.

Many artists have no idea where the butter for their bread comes from, but it just doesn't fall from the sky. Rich people support the arts and any situation in which they lose value (falling real estate & stocks, ponzi schemes, high taxes, etc.) negatively affects all the arts. We have to be able to adjust accordingly.



Post Edited (2010-01-19 20:06)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavk, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2010-01-19 21:58

Ed according to the list posted from 2007 about salary in various USA orchestra the base salary in the Baltimore symphony is over 3 times more than here in Iceland. And the concertmaster does not get 2 or 3 times more as a regular member of the orchestra more like 1.5 times more.

One question Isn't the list for salary per year ?

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-19 22:03

Just for fun...........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAR7cCeTmoc

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavk, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2010-01-19 22:13

And I even don't like ABBA at all.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ed Palanker (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Fredericton, NB Canada)
Date:   2010-01-20 01:05

Hi Ice, ISCOM lists salaries in weeks and yearly because many orchestra's here are not full time 52 weeks long. Of course if it lists $115, 500 in 2007 as with Cleveland, you can bet it's an annual salary.
The concert masters salary might be different in every orchestra, I really don't know how much other musicians make above scale. Some orchestra contracts have minimums above scale and some may not. The concert master, like everyone, can negotiate their own salary above scale so in one orchestra they might be paid twice scale, three times scale or scale and a half.
Baltimore is a full time 52 week orchestra, one of 17 in the USA. We've had the most strikes of any US orchestra including one for 22 weeks back in the 80s, a symphony record. Since I've been here I've been on strike for a total of about 50 weeks. That was the only way we have been able to bring attention to the community that the Baltimore Symphony needed their support. This past year we agreed to a 17.5 % cut in our salary to help management get through the tough times we're facing.
I don't know the situation in Iceland but you can't compare the two orchestra's. We live in a different city, state and country. Some orchestras elsewhere in the USA make a lot more than we do and we make a lot more than many others. We have many part time orchestra's in the US and we have many full time one's as well. ISCOM only lists those that belong to the organization.
Our cost of living is much less than in New York but it's a lot less then cities - states in the south like Mississippi. Funding scorces are also different in most cities here. Let's not go there OK? ESP

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2010-01-20 02:25)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavk, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2010-01-20 08:32

The cost of living is much more expensive in Iceland than in any part of USA. Here in Iceland in recent years you would not get much more than 2-3000$ per month in salary unless you were a lawyer,economist or working in the banks and such.

In the last 15 years we had two long strikes with junior/high school teachers,one with college teachers and one with music teachers.

Just for a comparison I was told by my then au-pair girl with us almost 15 years ago that her father a college teacher in Switzerland earned about 3 times more than college teachers in Iceland.

What I'm saying is that I think you are lucky being payed this much.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: OldClarinetGuy (---.wi.res.rr.com - ISP in Milwaukee, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-20 15:41

I will be in Philadelphia this weekend and I cannot afford to buy relatively good seats take my wife and my son to the Mozart concert on Saturday. I make a pretty good living and I am priced out of the subscription market for a good seat at a major orchestra and sometimes for going to a single concert.

These major orchestras run deficits. Cleveland around 4 million, Philadelphia about 3.3 million. Ticket sales are down. Philanthropic organizations are stressed. I hope these great musicians are not winning the battle and losing the war.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavk, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2010-01-20 18:38

The ticket price for the Icelandic symphony is 90% of the time about 29$ and 25$ without discount(50% of hour before and discount for season tickets).

Fulltime members of the orchestra are around 80 and the hall takes 900 people in seats of which around 350 are in lower price tickets.

I once heard that the starting ticket price for the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's concert was around 200€ and the waiting list were couple of years(maybe between 5 or 10 years).

I would never pay that price for any concert and I even don't like Vienna Waltz music at all.

Almost all the concerts in the Icelandic symphony are played only once except Christmas concert(focusing on kids) and the Vienna concert which is played 4 times in a row over 4 days. I just can't believe it. Where are all those people the rest of the season ?

The members have also told me it's their least favorite season playing the Vienna concerts. Horns and Violas playing the beat heavy light light and so on and Violins and clarinets constantly playing and Clarinets getting lots of flats and sharps(don't remember if it's only flats or sharps or both).

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Curinfinwe (---.eastlink.ca - ISP in Halifax, NS Canada)
Date:   2010-01-20 18:52

Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows about a list of salaries for orchestra in Canada? I saw the one for the States and it was interesting, but since I'm a Canuck I'd like to know how things are this side of the border. :)
Thanks!

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Liquorice (---.adslplus.ch - ISP in Zrich, 25 Switzerland)
Date:   2010-01-20 19:01

"Clarinets getting lots of flats and sharps"
Yet another reason to buy a C clarinet- much of Johann Strauss's music is for clarinets in C.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: bstutsman (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net - ISP in Houston, TX United States)
Date:   2010-01-23 05:35

What are they doing to create new concert goers? Are they sending small groups out into the schools? Are they getting out of the concert hall and taking the music to the public? If the median musician pay in this orchestra is $140,200, they should be doing some pro bono work to promote the art.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: bill28099 (---.mammothnetworks.com - ISP in Umatilla, OR United States)
Date:   2010-01-23 13:38

Curinfinwe

A principal player with the Vancouver Symphony makes $49,996 for 37 weeks. From my understanding the regular players make about $10K less then that. The highest paid orchestra in Canada is the NACO where min salary is $79,000 for 46 weeks.

In 2005 the base salary in Montreal was 46K for 46 weeks and they were given a 15K allowance for instrument insurance, upkeep and replacement.

Base salary in Edmonton is 46.1K for 41 weeks.

Base salary in Winnipeg is 34.5K for 36 weeks a principal gets 41.4K

All salaries are quoted in $CDN

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

Post Edited (2010-01-23 14:21)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-23 15:02

"If the median musician pay in this orchestra is $140,200, they should be doing some pro bono work to promote the art."

Hooray--you got that right. The days of increasing one's audience base by playing for only the rich and affluent in stuffy concert halls are past. They cry about a medium salary of $140,000.00 like they deserve it simply for being "the best". Let them get out there and earn it.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: FDF (---.pool4.1.kngs.ftc-i.net - ISP in Kingstree, SC United States)
Date:   2010-01-23 18:22

http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/html/Education/EducationConcertsNew.asp



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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in New York, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-24 14:29

Further to a point made farther upthread, musicians can take care of their own wages and working conditions via negotiation, but they can't manage and/or market their orchestras, and I'd suggest orchestra management really needs to shake themselves out of

Viz: an article in the Philly Inquirer about possible bankruptcy for the Philadelphia Orchestra:

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in New York, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-24 14:41

Further to a point made upthread, musicians can take care of their own wages and working conditions via negotiation, but they can't manage and/or market their orchestras, and I'd suggest orchestra management really needs to clean their own house before scapegoating musicians' salaries and benefits.

Viz: an article in the Philly Inquirer about possible bankruptcy for the Philadelphia Orchestra. (The hall is 62% full this year, whereas at the end of last year, it was 80% full.)
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20100124__Bankruptcy__is_heard_as_orchestra_struggles.html

Against that is a comment I ran across this morning from a subscriber (he's a non-musician, family guy in his forties, a lawyer practicing in Philly):

"I go to about half a dozen concerts per year, and the problems the orchestra faces are pretty obvious to me. Their marketing is horrible, their ushers and ticket sellers treat people like crap (not all, of course, but many), especially people who are there with discount tickets (I'm a subscriber, but since I usually have a self printed ticket they think it's a discounted ticket), and the facility is completely unwelcoming to people."

As I understand it, in bankruptcy the entity is allowed to abrogate contracts (e.g. with musicians) as it reorganizes. Well, what about making a frickin' effort to WELCOME patrons to the frickin' hall!!??? Make them feel like they count for something??

A management that allows its subscribers to be treated "like crap" is nowhere near up to the level of the musicians it employs.



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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: elmo lewis (---.zone-1.dial.net.mx - ISP in Metepec, 15 Mexico)
Date:   2010-01-24 17:43

The Wall Street Journal weighs in. Guess whose side they are on?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704320104575015042909194642.html

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: mrn (---.tx.res.rr.com - ISP in Mesquite, TX United States)
Date:   2010-01-24 18:30

DougR wrote:

<<Further to a point made upthread, musicians can take care of their own wages and working conditions via negotiation, but they can't manage and/or market their orchestras, and I'd suggest orchestra management really needs to clean their own house before scapegoating musicians' salaries and benefits.>>

I think in this case (Cleveland), they did. According to what I read, the management cut their own salaries first, and they have been seeking out creative ways of increasing revenue (like establishing residencies out of state). Perhaps they could have done more before cutting musician pay, but considering how high the musician salaries were in the Cleveland Orchestra, how small of a cut management was proposing, and the much larger sorts of cuts musicians in other high quality, but lower-paying orchestras have had to endure (like Ed's orchestra), I don't think what the Cleveland management was asking for was unreasonable.

If the economy (especially in Cleveland) were in better shape or the orchestra mismanaged, things would be different.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: OldClarinetGuy (---.wi.res.rr.com - ISP in Milwaukee, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-24 19:58

I just read the WSJ story. It seemed balanced.

It doesn't matter what the musicians or anyone gets paid if they make it affordable and the experience welcoming.

Symphony Orchestras don't play for the masses and they don't really seem to care about expanding their mission. The fund raisers are stuffy, ticket prices are high, there is a perception of elitism. Consumers pay $75, $100, $125 to see reunions of over the hill rock bands but those consumers are not going to pay those prices to see a symphony.

There is little to no interaction with the audience, there is a reverence symphonies expect from their audience when they play, and we see the musicians arriving in their tuxedos minutes before we arrive and they are often out the door and in their cars before I am.

It is great to have symphony in my town. But, I felt like i am subsidizing folks much wealthier than me when I gave my donation. So while I am a concert goer, now I give to the zoo and the public museum. Places that parents and their kids actually attend.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ed Palanker (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Fredericton, NB Canada)
Date:   2010-01-24 20:40

I feel I have to answer Oldclarinetguy. I can't speak for the orchestra in your town but that's not exactly true in many other orchestra in the USA. Speaking for my orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, first off most of us do not come to concerts in our tux's, most change in our locker rooms. We have had a program for several years now, since the recession began, of offering $25 tickets for most of our concerts. Patrons can mix and match programs to basically make up their own set of concerts anywhere from 4- 18 concerts. We do 6 pops programs each year, besides two weeks of Christmas concert specials. We do several side by side concerts with students from different counties in MD that are willing to participate as well as about a dozen other youth concerts.
This year we are doing a series called "Rusty Musician" rehearsals and concerts. Inviting players that wish to sit in with our musicians for a rehearsal and brief concert, for a fee of course. We have applied for, and received a grant to have a one week training session in the spring to invite interested students and graduates to play side by side rehearsals and concerts, have sectionals, be coached in chamber music and have private lessons if requested with members of our orchestra. We co sponsors a program at a local inner city public elementary school called Orchkids that the students receive instruments and lessons as well as other musical and non musical activities such as after school tutoring and attending open rehearsals, which we do for others as well. We also have a program called "College Nights" which we invite local college students to attend certain programs during the year at large discounts and have a get together after those concert to mingle with any of the musicians that wish to attend. We even have a program called Music Matter where we speak to patrons before and after many of our concerts to encourage them to help support the orchestra. Many musicians have even volunteer their time to perform at local shopping centers and such with a music matters table set up to try to attract people to attend and support our orchestra concerts. At Christmas we have a hugh toy drive and bring car loads of toys to a local hospital that cares for young children and musicians take the toys in performing Christmas music for the kids as they distribute the toys. So please do not paint all orchestra's and their players with the same brush stroke. We here in Baltimore are and have been trying all kinds of things to bring symphony music to the public. And as I said before, we've taken a big hit. ESP

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: OldClarinetGuy (---.wi.res.rr.com - ISP in Milwaukee, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 02:46

Great stuff.

I live about an hour from Milwaukee and I think we have a pretty good orchestra

It is frustrating to me that more folks do not attend. But, the facts remain that ticket prices are high and I do not see many faces that one would not expect to see at these concerts, and I also try to attend symphonies when I travel. I don't have any answers. I wish I did.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Lelia Loban (---.washdc.btas.verizon.net - ISP in Alexandria, VA United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 13:03

It helps to kick up a fuss at the local newspaper, too. This week, the Washington Post ran a letter from a subscriber complaining that the paper failed to review a concert by the National Symphony, featuring pianist Emanuel Ax. He's a major soloist, as the letter-writer pointed out in wondering whether the Post was downsizing its coverage of classical music. Well, this weekend, the paper used a color photo in a blurb for a review by the Post's lead classical music critic, Ann Midgette (grrr, don't even get me started about her -- I still regret that the Post lost Tim Page, although of late she's writing prose that's better -- less purple and less laden with mixed metaphors -- than her disastrous early articles), of a regional orchestra, the Fairfax Symphony. I read that color blurb and the review as a "Whoops! Sorry!" of sorts, signalling that the Post doesn't really mean to consign classical music to the dumpster.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

Post Edited (2010-01-25 13:07)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: mrn (---.tx.res.rr.com - ISP in Mesquite, TX United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 16:08

Ed wrote:

<<This year we are doing a series called "Rusty Musician" rehearsals and concerts. Inviting players that wish to sit in with our musicians for a rehearsal and brief concert, for a fee of course.>>

How cool! I'd love to do that. Too bad I don't live anywhere near Baltimore.

(Perhaps I just need to convince my wife that we need to take the family on a trip up there sometime.)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Dileep Gangolli (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Evanston, IL United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 17:59

Well given the financial situation orchestras are in and these initiatives such as the Rusty Musician, it won't be long until pro orchestras will be like going up in space.

One need not be an astronaut any more but can go into space as a passenger if you have the money to hand over to the proprietors.

So if someone wants to do...say three concerts or a Mahler cycle with the Philadelphia Orchestra... and has $250K to donate to the orchestra, should the orchestra accept the offer if they can bury them in the back of the string section or on third clarinet?

I am sure there are some people around who have the money and a musical instrument somewhere up in the attic.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: David Spiegelthal (64.69.59.---)
Date:   2010-01-25 18:14

Dileep, you mean like those wealthy patrons who sometimes pay to conduct an orchestra? Since conductors can be ignored by the players and usually are, such patrons are harmless when they conduct --- but if they were to join the orchestra as players they could potentially do considerably more damage. So, perhaps it should cost them more to play than to conduct?

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: mrn (---.tx.res.rr.com - ISP in Mesquite, TX United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 18:57

From the BSO website it looks like they don't just let anybody off the street play on these Rusty Musician concerts. You have to make an application and get accepted. I assume that also means you have to demonstrate to the orchestra's satisfaction that you can play the music.

I think it's a smart idea, myself. Instead of catering just to people with money to burn, they're actually trying to attract the musically-inclined. I certainly wouldn't pay GOBS of money for the experience, like those space tourist-types (much as I am a fan of space exploration, I wouldn't fork over that kind of money for a space ride, even if I could afford it), but a few hundred dollars for the educational experience of playing a rehearsal and a concert with a room full of world-class musicians and a conductor like Eschenbach or Marin Alsop would be worth it to some.

I could care less about having my name engraved in a brick at the concert hall or printed in the program. It's the music I care about. If symphony orchestras want to stay financially solvent in the future, they'd do well to attract more people like that into their audience and into their fundraising efforts--people who are there simply out of a love of music, especially those with kids.

(Incidentally, my kids love classical music because they've grown up listening to it [and my two oldest play violin and clarinet, respectively].)

Further, I, for one, don't really like hob-nobbing with a bunch of rich show-offs, as you tend to do at a lot of fundraising events. I'd much prefer to meet other musicians and music lovers and talk about music. I'm sure a lot of the people on this board are the same way.

The big symphonies need to discover new ways of getting music lovers and amateur musicians to make small contributions in large volumes, like the public TV people do with their audiences.



Post Edited (2010-01-25 20:40)

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in New York, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 20:16

Actually, both Ed's and mrn's comments suggest a possible news story: what orchestras are doing RIGHT to attract new listeners and expose more people to the music. (i don't know where the story would RUN, mind you; a feature on NPR, possibly, or CBS's "Sunday Morning;" why do I think a pessimistic gloom-sounding news story about dying orchestras will always pique an editor's interest over an upbeat story about how X, Y, and Z orchestras are bringing more people into the tent, so to speak.)

I "friended" Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on Facebook, and I can tell you that almost daily there's a post from Orpheus, usually with a picture of a musician; some of the items are fun, some silly, some genuinely informative, some inane, but they make Orpheus appear serious and dedicated, yet fun, light-hearted and accessible at the same time, which is not a bad thing, in my view.



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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ryan25 (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net - ISP in Chicago, IL United States)
Date:   2010-01-25 21:41

Oldclarinetguy said:

"Symphony Orchestras don't play for the masses and they don't really seem to care about expanding their mission. The fund raisers are stuffy, ticket prices are high, there is a perception of elitism. Consumers pay $75, $100, $125 to see reunions of over the hill rock bands but those consumers are not going to pay those prices to see a symphony."

I think one of the problems is that even if a symphony orchestra sells out every concert, that still might not cover their overhead and create enough revenue to function. Maybe these organizations have to cater to the elite of society because most if not all need substantial donations and endowments to function. I don't think the salaries of musicians are to blame (although some seem incredibly high), they are simply a small part of a much bigger problem.

I think symphony orchestras have a failed business model. No business can function long term if it's overhead costs more than the revenue it brings in. This is especially true in the United States where classical music is only relevant to a small percentage of the population. Maybe it is conjecture, but it seems that classical music is much more valued and popular in Europe. I really fear that American symphony orchestras are in trouble and have to find a way to reinvent themselves both in marketing and how they create and sustain revenue.

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: Ken Shaw (---.dyn.optonline.net - ISP in Brooklyn, NY United States)
Date:   2010-01-26 11:16

I think orchestras are a *successful* business model. They began as the amusement of kings, and wealthy lovers of classical music have kept the model working for hundreds of years.

It's the same with all the high arts. People turn out in droves for King Tut, but the Metropolitan Museum exists through continuous massaging of its billionaire donors, not $15 I pay at the door.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: The Cleveland Orchestra musicians speak out!
Author: OldClarinetGuy (---.wi.res.rr.com - ISP in Milwaukee, WI United States)
Date:   2010-01-26 22:35

The difference being that the philanthropic gifts to the museum make a $15 admission possible. If the cost to see King Tut was $65 those folks are not turning out in droves.

If the purpose of the orchestra is to preserve symphonic music and to introduce new symphonic works to be heard by the few maybe the business model works. I look at the faces in the audience and they pretty much all look like my wife and me. I don't think that bodes well for the future.

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