Their office may be a stage, their work clothes black tie and their tools of the trade priceless instruments. But the day-to-day lives of orchestra musicians are more work than glamour.
On reality television, the riskiest professions are ironworker, firefighter, lumberjack and the like. These days, you can add “orchestra musician” to the list.
Being a classical player employed near the pinnacle of your profession used to be a pretty stable occupation; the average Minnesota Orchestra player has been there 18 years. But Michael Adams, who plays viola with the orchestra, has been out of work since Oct. 1. His wife, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra violinist Daria Adams, joined him in unemployment three weeks ago.
Both are locked out, neither playing nor earning a paycheck, a microcosm of the fallout from a nationwide wave of orchestras dealing with multimillion-dollar deficits. Managements contend that, because of dwindling revenues and higher costs, the artists must take significant salary cuts if the orchestras are to survive. Musicians counter that the troubles are cyclical, and there are other ways to balance budgets.
Read about this couple who play music for a living.(Right now, though, they aren’t getting much work, due to the lockouts with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minneapolis Orchestra.)