Recently, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) launched a Twitter account that is publishing diary entries from timpanist Charles Turner during the orchestra’s 1912 United States and Canada tour. It has been loads of fun reading the Twitter size excerpts and all things being equal, it seems as though the orchestra is keeping the Tweets synced with actual dates and times from the original tour schedule.
In a recent post, Drew highlights a remark by author Joseph Horowitz suggesting that musicians should no longer expect that orchestras owe them a living wage, i.e., a full-time salary. I thought I would use my brief stint as a guest blogger to elaborate on some of the history that led us to today’s paradigm of full-time orchestral employment. Was the transformation from 1958 when a bare handful of orchestras paid a modest middle-class wage to today’s 50+ full-time orchestras an accident of history caused by the nexus of profligate national foundations and a greedy musicians’ union, or is there more to the story?