Recession affects New York’s freelance musicians

Posted on: December 6, 2010

In Sunday’s (12/5) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin writes, “In New York’s classical-music world most of the attention falls on the big boys: the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the major international orchestras that pass through Carnegie Hall, the glamorous soloists who can earn tens of thousands of dollars an appearance. But night after night highly trained players traipse from Washington Heights or the Upper West Side or northern New Jersey or Long Island to play church jobs and weddings, Lincoln Center and Broadway summer festivals and fill-in jobs at the Met and the Philharmonic. They occupy the ranks of a dozen freelance orchestras, put the music in Broadway musicals and provide soundtracks—or at least they used to—for Hollywood and Madison Avenue. They form the bedrock of musical life in a great cultural capital. It was a good living. But the New York freelance musician—a bright thread in the fabric of the city—is dying out. … ‘This is first time that there are quite a few managements coming to us and saying, “We just don’t have money,” ‘ said Eugene Moye Jr., a veteran cellist who serves on the players committees in several orchestras. ‘Our community is under a lot of pressure. Our jobs are melting away. We have a lot of people who are right on the edge.’ ” Symphony, the magazine of the League of American Orchestras, reported on the situation in its issue of May-June 2010; click here to read the article in SymphonyOnline.

Posted December 6, 2010