23. April 2015 · Comments Off on Conflicts and Choosing My Chair · Categories: Ramble

It was suggested a short time ago that I showed more loyalty to Symphony Silicon Valley than to Opera San José, because I chose to play Lord of the Rings and skip opening weekend of The Magic Flute. Perhaps it was said in jest. Perhaps not. I’m not always good at determine a serious comment from a joke. I did feel as if I needed to defend myself. Dan later suggested I write about just how I do choose when I have two job offers that conflict.

Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s not. This one was easy, to be honest.

I’ve played Magic Flute so many times I’ve lost count. I’d never played the music to Lord of the Rings. There’s one reason I opted to go with LOTR.

But I chose it for a number of other reasons as well.

We lost 27% of our income from cutbacks at Opera San José this year. What we didn’t lose was the long spread that an opera run takes. We still have three weekends with performances, and we have a week and a half of days that include rehearsals prior to opening weekend. Not all of these days of rehearsals are in a row, and only two of the performances don’t have at least one day between them. This makes for a VERY long stretch of time, yet much lower income overall. LOTR was a run of services (a service is a rehearsal or performance) with only one day of break. It was also a LOT services. Opera was fewer and over about a month. That also influenced my decision.

In addition, I was able to play the majority of opera rehearsals and performances even while doing LOTR, so I will be right back with opera beginning tonight. I actually only missed four services! Another easy choice.

Last set, when we were doing our world premiere, I had to choose between a symphony set, doing music (and the movies) from Fantastia and Fantasia 2. In that case, while I could have made it work and made a bit more income, I felt it was unwise to leave the opera and have someone else learn a new work. It just didn’t seem fair to opera. Yes. I’m loyal that way. ;-)

It can be complicated, and I have to weigh a lot of things. For instance:

  • Finances
  • The number of conflicts I have my afternoon teaching schedule which cause me to cancel students’ lessons
  • How much I like or dislike the rep
  • What position I’ll play and what instrument
  • Whether I have contract obligations to fulfill that require my attendance?

I’m sure there are more things I’m forgetting to list. But honest, it has nothing to do with loyalty. I love both groups. I am grateful for both of them. I love my colleagues in both orchestras.

I just have to choose sometimes. It’s not always easy.

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