As many people may or may not have been watching the unfolding situation in Jacksonville, Florida, an article has recently appeared in which the musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony speak quite candidly about the life of an orchestral musician and the requirements of both having a position in a symphony orchestra and maintaining the level of playing that resulted in the acquisition of the position - "winning the audition", as it is.
This article was written, it seems, in response to a statement given to the Florida Times-Union by Jim Van Vleck, the chairman of the orchestra's board of directors: "I really do respect our musicians, but there's something about a 37-week year and 20 hours a week that doesn't seem too onerous." This one statement has been called the "shot heard 'round the world" by many and the responses to this statement have been quite strong.
This recent article in the Florida Times-Union, one in which musicians were interviewed, is very interesting in that it not only covers many of the realities of an orchestral musician's life, but also in that the perspectives of the musicians are portrayed very humbly and honestly, with no trace of animosity or ill-will towards the board of directors of the Jacksonville Symphony. Personally, I find myself very pleased to see an article like this finally appearing in the press - one should hope that these findings will not only continue to eliminate the continued questioning of how a musician lives after securing a full-time, permanent position, but also remain public so that future negotiations will not disintegrate as those in Jacksonville have. A human perspective is a wonderful thing, and I invite you all to read and share your thoughts.
For more information on the situation on the ground, do visit adaptistration.com. Drew McManus has done a marvelous job of sharing an unbiased and informative look at these negotiations since they began in the summer of 2007.
In other news, many of you who know me quite well will understand why this story has been posted. There have been some events in my life that have made it "easy to block out the bad things, but [it's] harder to enjoy the good things" much like Colt Brennan says in this interview. Enjoy.