19. September 2013 · Comments Off on Unwise Words · Categories: Read Online

We don’t care what you did for the orchestra. The orchestra’s irrelevant; they could be replaced tomorrow by a computer or a record. We’re entitled to more because we are the product.

Alan Gordon, national executive director of AGMA

Whether or not orchestra members should be paid more or less than dancers, that wasn’t a very wise thing to say. What a spark! Fires have started. It’ll be interesting to see if someone can put them out.


Can ballet companies move to recorded music? Yep. Have they? Yep. Do audiences like it? I’ve heard they do not. I’ve heard some stop attending. I have only heard these things, though, and haven’t seen cold hard facts. But does the fact that people prefer live music mean orchestra members should be paid more? I’m guessing not. These things aren’t always “fair” or “balanced” … welcome to the world. Do dancers really want to dance to inflexible recordings that never change? Sounds like music box mentality to me.

Why do ballet dancers earn less than musicians? Why do chorus members earn less than orchestra members? There is most definitely some off balance in groups. I have theories but I won’t put any of them in writing for the time being. Everyone in the performance world plays an important and vital role.

I remember, years ago, when a colleague told me that the position s/he had in the orchestra (as a section string player) was much more difficult than what I did, as a solo English horn player. THe person’s somewhat hostile conversation with me was surprising and I didn’t feel like arguing. I, of course, would have loved to tell her that I thought it was just the opposite! Truth is, we all have difficult jobs, and all are necessary. I can only speak for myself, but I also feel that I have a wonderful, fulfilling, challenging, frustrating, exhilarating, exhausting, fantastic job. I received wise words from someone else, when I whined to hear about the other colleague and it was suggested that comparing wasn’t necessary. It only causes strife. Who needs to ad divisions between sections or groups of people in the performing arts? We have enough strife as it is.

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