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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 49

July 30, 2006 at 1:09 PM

‘Tis the season, of course, for orchestra auditions. Here are some current opportunities, all of which are detailed on each orchestra’s website. When stated, compensation is included at the end of each listing and it can be a real eye-opener.

Asst. Concertmaster, Section First – Houston Symphony, due 8/1, audition 9/18-20
Principal Second – Milwaukee Symphony, due 8/1, audition 10/21-23 ($65.9k min.)
Section First – Milwaukee Symphony, due 8/1, audition 10/21-23 ($54.9k min.)
Violin, per service – Virginia Symphony Orchestra, due 8/1, audition 8/30 ($85.66/svc)
Section Violin – Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, due 8/1, audition 9/06
Section – New Mexico Symphony, due 8/1, audition 9/7 ($15.3k)

Air Force Strings – audition 8/14 ($45k-$51k)
Assoc. Concertmaster, Section – South Bend Symphony, audition 8/23-25
Asst. Concertmaster – Albany Symphony, due 8/4, audition 9/7-8 ($91/svc + 35%)
Section Violin – Albany Symphony, due 8/4, audition 9/7-8 ($91/svc)
Section Violin – Grand Rapids Symphony, due 8/7, audition 9/22-23 ($104.79/svc)
Concertmaster – Kalamazoo Symphony, due 8/8, audition 9/8 ($35k min.)
Section Violin – Boston Symphony, due 8/9, audition 10/30-31
Asst. Concertmaster – Colorado Springs Philharmonic, due 8/14, audition 8/28-9/1 ($107.72/svc)
Section First, Second – Colorado Springs Philharmonic, due 8/14, audition 8/28-9/1 ($89.77/svc)
Section Violin – Cedar Rapids Symphony, due 8/14, audition 8/26

Section (temp. repl.) – Saint Louis Symphony, due 8/1, audition 9/11-12
Asst. Principal – Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, due 8/1, audition 9/06
Section – Grand Rapids Symphony, due 8/7, audition 9/22-23 ($104.79/svc)
Section – Colorado Springs Philharmonic, due 8/14, audition 8/28-9/1 ($89.77/svc)
Assoc. Principal, Section – Cedar Rapids Symphony, due 8/14, audition 8/26
Section – South Bend Symphony, audition 8/23-25
Principal, Asst. Principal – Arizona Opera, audition 9/9

Section – South Bend Symphony, audition 8/23-25
Asst. Principal – Memphis Symphony, due 8/1, audition 8/26 ($25.2k)
Principal, Section – Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, due 8/1, audition 9/06
Section – Spokane Symphony, audition 9/1
Section – Singapore Symphony, due 9/12, audition 10/06 in NYC, SF, London, Amsterdam ($34.5k USD)

Musician News

7/29/06 - Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Owen Young performed at a special concert in which Boston University's School of Music celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Tanglewood Institute, its summer program for gifted high school students.

7/27/06 – According to the North Shore Times in Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia, violinist Madeleine Easton has landed one of London’s top jobs: concertmaster of the Hanover Band. “A former Conservatorium High School student, Ms Easton, 28, received the news when she returned home from a tour of Spain with the English Baroque Soloists. ‘It hit me then that I was actually, for real, going to be the leader of a professional orchestra in London, a major international centre for music’, she said. ‘This appointment is going to change my life, I think’. Ms Easton studied with Chris Kimber and completed a Bachelor of Music (honours) degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.”

7/27/06 – According to the Buffalo News, The former president of the Buffalo local of the American Federation of Musicians has pleaded guilty to embezzling $74,000 from the very musicians he represented. Mark R. Jones has "pleaded guilty to taking $40,000 from the Musicians Local 92 in Buffalo where he was president and secretary-treasurer, and $34,000 from the New York State Conference of Musicians, of which he was secretary-treasurer. Jones repaid $21,000 of the amount he had taken before the investigation began, and has since repaid nearly all the rest, according to the United States Attorney's office." During the court hearing, Jones "said that he took medication for depression but was fit to make the decision to plead guilty. He likely faces a sentence of 12-18 months, plus a $3,000 fine at a sentencing set for Nov. 28, Judge William M. Skretny said."

7/27/06 – Violinist Gilles Apap, known for a repertoire that “mixes classical music with folk music from all over the world,” performed a concert in Tokyo, reports the Daily Yomiuri. “Apap has won fans for stage performances that are free of the conventions associated with classical music. He often appears on stage in casual attire, for example. ‘I do things that feel natural to me. Putting a tux on is very uncomfortable. So why should I?’ Apap said. He also doesn't hesitate to sing, whistle or walk around on stage during a concert, apparently enjoying direct exchanges with the audience. Apap says it doesn't even bother him if some audience members fall asleep during his performances, as he finds it a fun challenge to think of ways of waking them up. Born in Algeria in 1963, Apap began playing violin at the age of 7. After studying at the Conservatoire de Musique de Nice and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Lyon, he won the Contemporary Music Prize at the International Menuhin Competition in 1985. He later became concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra--a position he went on to hold for 10 years.”

7/26/06 – gave an overall lukewarm review to Leila Josefowicz’s Proms performance of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1, largely due to the reviewer’s dislike of the orchestra’s performance. “The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Sakari Oramo, gave the most apathetic performance I have heard in a long time. For Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto, we were treated to the immensely beautiful sound of a 1724 Guaneri del Gesu violin played by violinist Leila Josefowicz. Whatever beautiful sound the violin produced, however, was neutralized by the orchestra's wind section's inability to control their note attacks. Also, I felt that Josefowicz could have taken more time in certain places, though generally speaking, the first three movements up to the cadenza were technically perfect – perhaps a bit too perfect to the extent that the music became incredibly dry. The cadenza in the third movement was… probably the highlight of the evening. Her immensely powerful tone and technical virtuosity made the cadenza one that was received without any coughing and much applause at the end of the movement. It showed, however, that the cadenza was the item weighing on her mind as she proceeded to play the last movement as if all the troubles in the world were over.”

7/24/06 - German conductor Heinrich Hollreiser has died at 93, reports He was principal conductor (first Kapellmeister) of the Vienna State Opera from 1952-1961... He also led operas at Covent Garden, Bayreuth, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and the Metropolitan Opera during his career and guest-conducted the Vienna Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra."

7/21/06 – Teen violinists and sisters Danielle and Rachel Taylor of East Oakland, Calif., were profiled in The Argus, a Bay Area newspaper. "Sometimes some of the street people around here will ask if that was me playing, they thought it was so beautiful. That's one of my favorite compliments coming from someone who has no reason to compliment me," said 18-year-old Danielle, who has just completed her first year at Oberlin. According to the paper, 17-year-old Rachel recently won the national Jack Kent Cooke Foundation competition and its $10,000 award. She used the funds to buy a violin.

7/20/06 – KOCH Records announced that the debut album from Nuttin' But Stringz will be released on October 3rd, 2006. Their album, entitled Struggle From The Subway to The Charts, will include the single "Thunder." Teenage brothers Damien and Tourie Escobar, dubbed Nuttin' But Stringz or N.B.S., first gained recognition for their blending of classical music, jazz, R&B, and hip hop by playing throughout New York's subway system. The duo has performed on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Today Show and VH1's popular Save The Music program.

Orchestra News

8/2-12/06 - The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra will participate in the International Youth Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland, along with theater, dance, and choral groups from around the world. The trip marks the first overseas tour for the youth orchestra.

7/27/06 – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has set an in-house fundraising record for the second year in a row, taking in nearly $2.2 million for the 2006 fiscal year, reports the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. This week, the orchestra also recorded an all-Gershwin disc with pianist Jon Nakamatsu. The recording has been funded by Al Davis, an honorary RPO board member, former board director, and retired Rochester Institute of Technology vice president. With a $90,000 gift, Davis underwrote the majority of costs for the recording, which is slated to be released on the Harmonia Mundi USA label in the summer of 2007.

7/26/06 - The Edmonton Symphony has resolved a long-running dispute with the Winspear Centre for Music over the estate of a deceased philanthropist, reports the CBC. "[Stuart] Davis, who died in July 2005, was a great supporter of both the Winspear Centre and the ESO, which plays at the venue. Symphony officials had been under the impression that Davis, a retired professor who found success on the stock market, had left a substantial bequest to the company in his will. Under the settlement, the ESO will get several hundred thousand dollars, and the Centre will get nearly CAN$2 million.”

Other Music News

7/27/06 - The EMI Group, the British music giant, has decided to call off its efforts to merge with the rival Warner Music Group, according to the New York Times. “The decision by EMI comes after the two companies rejected each other's escalating takeover offers and after a European court ruling that raised doubts about regulatory approval of such a deal…Many analysts continue to believe the two companies will eventually combine, a deal that would create the world's second-biggest music company and yield hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings after overlapping functions and jobs are cut. But the end of the most recent negotiations solidifies the industry's lineup of four major music companies. EMI and Warner rank as the third- and fourth-largest music companies by market share, and both trail their bigger rivals, Sony BMG, and the Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the industry's biggest player."

From Karin Lin
Posted on July 30, 2006 at 11:30 PM
What does "svc" mean in those salaries above?
From Darcy Lewis
Posted on July 31, 2006 at 12:56 PM
Yes, that's "per service," which quickly makes it clear that many, many American orchestras do not pay enough to live on.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on July 31, 2006 at 2:54 PM
There are a lot of ways to look at the pay issue. Personally there are a lot of other people I'd have to have sympathy for first.

I'm curious what the +35% at Albany means.

From Darcy Lewis
Posted on July 31, 2006 at 3:47 PM
Indeed, there are many Americans who are underpaid, but relatively few who pursue such lengthy, exacting training first.

Regarding the Albany listing, I take that to mean that they pay the assoc. concertmaster the $91 that the section players get, plus an additional 35% per service. Instead of giving the total amount, they phrased it that way, so that's what I did, too.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on July 31, 2006 at 5:48 PM
Thanks for the info.

True about the lengthy education, but how do you weigh it philosophically against, say, the danger of being crushed or blown to bits other workers face:) Ultimately I guess we all just get what we can. I think the best philosophical justification for earning more is when one's time is leveraged - by a wide distribution, or large readership, and so on, causing a wider effect than say someone turning one screw at a time.

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