Now hiring: Prominent musician vacancies at American orchestras

Posted on: July 6, 2010

“The nation is bleeding jobs, unemployment stands at almost 10 percent, and lines run long at job fairs,” writes Daniel J. Wakin in a front-page story in Tuesday’s (7/6) New York Times. “But in one microscopic sliver of the economy, the pickings are rich: major orchestras. Next season the New York Philharmonic will have a rare 12 openings, or roughly 12 percent of its instrumental work force, thanks to a confluence of retirements, departures for better jobs and long-unfilled positions. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has 10 vacancies, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra 9, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic 7. Elsewhere the Cleveland Orchestra has four full-time job openings and one part-time. The Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and Dallas Symphony each have three openings. … Not that audiences will be seeing empty chairs. Orchestras hire substitutes for section jobs. Assistant principals move up temporarily into the top positions.” Music director transitions and logistical demands of auditions sometimes cause open positions to continue going unfilled. “The Boston Symphony usually has a high number of openings, because the demands on the players—the Tanglewood festival, the Boston Pops and regular concerts—make scheduling auditions especially difficult, as does the orchestra’s system of hiring based on a two-thirds majority in committee.”

Posted July 6, 2010