An article in today’s New York Times by Daniel J. Wakin focuses on all of the recent contract negotiation settlements among the four of the “Big 5” orchestras. It’s an o.k piece but there’s a basic premise this piece presents (either by Daniel’s design or his editors) that really bothers me; it makes it appear as though these are the only orchestras in the relevant musical universe.
The article begins with:
“Many of the people who bring you Mozart and Mahler from some of the nation’s greatest symphony orchestras will be working harder over the next few years and without raises this season.”
Many? The cumulative number of musicians between New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland represent 6% of the professional orchestra musicians among all ICSOM and ROPA ensembles.
It continues with:
“Yet they will still be making solid six-figure incomes and will have new opportunities to have their performances heard on radio, Internet and CD.”
Once again, this would be true for only those four orchestras, but the average salary for all ICSOM and ROPA ensembles is $33,948.50 just a little short of six figures.
I’m not saying Daniel wrote a bad article, I would just like to see some national perspective in a paper with a national readership. What about all the other contracts settled this year so far and the many still being worked on?
Tomorrow I’ll work on picking up some of the slack and publishing a piece about the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra negotiations.