LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  April 2008

CLASSICAL April 2008

Subject:

Re: Atonal Music

From:

Rick Mabry <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 7 Apr 2008 18:48:46 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (136 lines)

Maybe the subject line should be, "Amoral music" ...

Karl Miller wrote:

> I also wonder what it would be like trying be the orchestra marketing
> person who has to write the advance for the next performance of a standard
> rep Concerto.  They hype the outrageously overpriced soloist...and no, I
> do not think Yo Yo Ma is worth $40,000 per performance.

I also wonder what it must be like trying to be a symphony musician
living this. That figure, for one night's performing, is more than the
yearly salary of many symphony musicians.  I do not know how it is in
other parts of the country, but here in Shreveport, Louisiana, we have
what I think is a pretty fine symphony, considering.  However, the
"rank-and-file" performers are paid a disgracefully meager wage.  Most
have to have several jobs to make ends meet, and most teach at several
middle schools and high schools --- traveling daily between them, not
fulltime at any one school, so they often lack health insurance and other
benefits.  There are, at present, a luckier "core" of 24 players (down
from 30) who are paid a whopping $12K per year for their symphony playing.
The rest are paid "per service".  This amounts to $30-60 for each of
four or five "services" for each of the 8 or 9 monthly symphonies, and
the occasional extra pops condert or whatever.  I am told that you can,
if you play all that the symphony offers, haul in a hefty $3600 per year.
I checked the numbers above --- no typos.

Of course the performers are "free" to work with other symphonies in the
surrounding area.  There aint many.  And it would take a lot of hustle
to make a livelihood that way as a fulltime musician.  Can you practice?
Will you get to play anything but th usual fare in such an environment?

Some have had to move away to find better pay.  Many cannot.  Things are
going to get worse, I hear, and more will leave.

(I hated to even mention the name of my city --- I have held back making
critical observations on this list because the symphony needs all the
help it can get and I do not wish to make things worse or complain about
what cannot be made better.  But I don't really think it can get much
worse.)

The big bucks go to at least some of the executives on the board, and
of course to the conductor.  If I understand it correctly, our conductor
is also the conductor for at least one another orchestra in another
state, so I suspect he's doing just fine, thank you.  But the I guess
he too has to hustle to make his (loftier) ends meet.  In any case,
symphony musicians get paid an order of magnitude less.

The political situation between the musicians and the board is presently
a big, cacophonous mess. I'm not trying to be a reporter, so I cannot
state the absolute facts (which would surely be disputed by someone).
I suspect this goes on in many cities in the USA.

I fantasize that the musicians break free of the business model they are
trapped in, that they could manage themselves somehow without the need
of boards and fatcats and overpriced conductors.  A pipe dream, I am
sure.  I talked to a nonprofit exec who assures me they do need deep
tentacles into the wealthier parts of the society.  Fat lot of good it
does them now.

I know that a few of the musicans conduct smaller orchestras, and of
course others could learn to do that.  My favorite conductor of this
symphony in recent years was actually the concertmaster.  He was interim
conductor for a year or so while they looked for a big name to take over.
How must THAT feel?  He still fills in as conductor from time to time
while the "real" conductor is off on some gig or soiree with another
orchestra.  I wish the musicians could all quit and make a go of it on
their own.

Meanwhile, the board and/or conductor (aka, "Musical Director" -- does
this mean two salaries?) have had their own fantasies.  The most recent
is that more customers will be found by alternating the classical music
offerings with more pops and "Broadway Nights".  Our concert season is
only 8 or 9 months to begin with, one concert per month, which is not
much.  So now it has been halved, at least for me, as I am not interested
in the pops fare.

The next big idea was that people need a theme to be coaxed into coming
out for a concert. So they recently had a night of concert music related
to "dance": Rach's "Symphonic Dances", Weber's "Invitation to the Dance",
and Piazzolla's "Tangazo".  That was fine with me, although the idea of
a theme actually puts me off.  But not enough to even consider staying
away.  Until...

... until I found out that the rest of the brainstorm was that people
also need something to watch while the music plays.  And so, part of
the program was that a local dance troupe would perform on the stage,
accompanied by the classical music.

Live music videos! This will turn the people on!

Don't ask me how it went, because  do not know.

Hey, I am not against art music or avant-garde attempts, but this
struck me as so insulting and silly that I went into a snit and vowed
not to go.  The the music is no longer sufficient and needs to be in the
background, supported by kids dancing?  Even at a symphony performance?
Give me a break.  Just shoot me.  Just shoot the symphony.

I complained to our (lone) music professor at my university.  She correctly
pointed out that the symphony is struggling and trying desparately to
find ways to fill the seats.  I know, I know.  But this?  She also noted
that she had not seen my name on the donors list.

Right!  I buy the cheapest tickets, too, up in the nosebleed section.
But were I to plop down larger chunks of money, just where would this
money go?  Another raffle of a Mercedes?  (I understand from one of my
spies that they do not break even on this gimmick, but someone else
disputes that.) To the musicians?  (I doubt it.) Will it go, I asked,
to provide tickets to people who would like to go but cannot afford it,
or to students to get a taste of live classical music?  (The Shreveport
Opera does this and I have supported it.)

Sorry, I seem to be spiraling off-topic... Karl continued:

> I did some figuring...  with our hall seating about 2,300 people, you would
> have to have the ticket prices average out to $100 each...to break even.  I
> could buy a bunch of CDs for $100.

Okay, so maybe I'm not all that much off-topic.  Yes, that is where my
classical bucks go, too: to CD's and other digital forms of music.  (Steve
Schwarz is costing me a fortune.  Thank goodness he reviews many albums
on Naxos, to which I subscribe.)

> None of this makes any sense, either artistically or from the business
> perspective.  For me, it is insane.

It is. And I add it makes no moral sense, either.

Rick Mabry
Shreveport, LA

             ***********************************************
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.  For more information,
go to:  http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager