English Touring Opera sacks half its musicians to increase diversity
The Musicians Union
just about nails how I feel about this.
Sounds like a good thing to me!
If they did this by blind audition competition I think it would be OK. Otherwise it seems discriminatory.
It seems a clumsy and brutal way to achieve their aims.
I agree that it was clumsy, but this is a freelance group. They have no longterm contracts. They held auditions and chose new players. Who is to say those players are not as good? They may be better.
I agree with the MU.
Sounds like a group trying something to put their money where their mouth is and facing the inevitable backlash. Of course, we are getting one particular side of the story here.
There's so much wrong with this I don't have the energy to write it out...
there's so much wrong with white privilege, Its pretty much been the norm for Western society, glad someone is trying to make a difference.
Equality of opportunity or equal results. Choose one.
The confounding fact to me is that racism is based on a false premise: that there is such a thing as RACE. THERE IS NOT. The Human Genome Project of 2003 clearly established this. How stupid can people be? (not to get into anti-vaxers) /. .\
Erin, race may not exist in our genes - that's been pretty clearly established. It's a bit simplistic to say race doesn't exist, since it clearly exists in society and in the minds of most people that live in most societies. It's like saying that a building doesn't exist since we looked in our DNA and didn't find any buildings in there.
This is how it was done:
I totally agree with Mary Ellen. Having freelanced in NYC I am opposed to reverse discrimination. I played for about 1 1/2 years as one of the 2 violinists hired to play Annie on Broadway. I quit because I just got sick of playing "Just thinkin' a lot, (followed by a blast of saxaphones)" My career path then changed for a couple of years, then I got married and thought, "well gee, I guess I'm going to have to make some money in this industry to support my family." At that point there were racial quotas imposed on the makeup of Broadway pit orchestras, and there was no way for me to get a job, even subbing. The one exception was playing on stage for a Peggy lee show which lasted for one week. Those of you who have not experienced being a professional musician at the highest level should think twice about what it means to be a professional, freelance musician.
Thanks Christian; I'm just trying to get the word out. Maybe there is a little difference between denying the existence of a building, and disputing a phony but socially entrenched notion, like of "race" and the corollary, "racism." One loses hope...
Sure Erin! I agree that the ideal is a world where racial prejudice, whether implicit or explicit, is a thing of the past, allowing everyone to really internalize the constructed nature of race. Of course, how we get there is a tough one. Perhaps by making clear that the idea of race is totally unscientific, and unsupported as a meaningful biological classification, we can more clearly shine a light on the social determinants, allowing us to fight the real battles in creating a humane society.
This quote found by Andrew Victor is key:
 wrote: ""White privilege" is a chimera invented to allow for what is really another kind of racism."
Thanks Felix for speaking my mind about certain statements and speeches mean no harm but ignore some very real issues experienced and endured by people of colour.
The press release quoted by Andrew Victor is an attempt by ETO to deflect the significant criticism they have attracted from across the media in the UK and organisations such as the Musicians Union.
Seems as though this sort of occurrence is now commonplace across many countries and organizations. My guess is the musicians here don’t have much protection from their “union”.
Nuuska, the sound might change because the much better players would then be able to contribute their superior playing to the phil, which has used its cabal to artificially keep them out. (And I'm far from a union-buster, but it is certainly a matter of historic record that unions have often not protected the interests of minority and female members)
As the kids say: “That’s a bruh moment”.
‘Players that are already known by English Touring Opera do not need to apply as they will automatically be included in the pool of freelance players
I wonder if they did the auditions blind.
"Hard work trumps all, therefore some did not work hard enough". But indeed in many, many cases, some have to work extra hard due to many unfair pressures in society. If you do not believe it, you have not lived it.
Lydia, Mary Ellen - you say so much that is strong, fair and right.
Seems like most of our posters think its some big tragedy that white people weren't hired for all the jobs and that deserving minorities got hired as if they don't deserve jobs at all, that's why the fundamental premise of most of our posters is supporting racist ideology
Taking down Ann and Lyndon's personal attacks mostly on each other. Please read our
Diversity is good. However, the time to address the lack of diversity in orchestras is not at the professional audition level. That's way too late. The time to address it is by getting instruments and teaching to 6-year-olds of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds.
Mary Ellen said:
“Diversity is good. However, the time to address the lack of diversity in orchestras is not at the professional audition level. That's way too late. The time to address it is by getting instruments and teaching to 6-year-olds of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds.“
Shortly after he was demobbed from the RAF at the end of WWII my cello teacher was approached by the BBC with the offer of a chair in the first desk of the BBCSO - a plum job in English music at that time. It seems that the BBC had heard about him through contacts in The RAF School of Music. My teacher-to-be surprisingly turned down the offer.
Music is a social activity. A form of communication, and one that is often performed by ensembles. It has all of the virtues and vices of our social actions. It can help people, bring them together. It can also be exclusionary, and divisive.
complete rubbish! When its easier for minorities to get a job then you might have reverse racism, as we are no where near that point any effort to hire more minorities just helps balance things out.
Sacking half the musicians is a great way to sack the morale of any remaining players.
So what you are saying is if you are white, you should have the special privilege of never losing your job, and minorities don't deserve to have a job too??
Jocelyn, Yes, a colleague of mine was fired presumably for working too slowly and the rest of us could see she wasn't doing much worse than we were. After a weekend of angst I trotted down to HR and announced my retirement. It turned out they were hoping this would happen as it saved them money, albeit to the expense of their product.
Mike pass me some!
*passes Landon popcorn*
wait till you get older. You won’t always poop quite so easily.
I think tabs should be kept on this orchestra to see if their hiring actually does only increase diversity. Else....
While ideally we would indeed address diversity at the pipeline level, the fact remains that systemic discrimination occurs at just about all stages of the pipeline.
Who said the musicians were older??
Lyndon, the article states that many of the members who are losing their position have been playing with the orchestra for more than 20 years.
Thank you Rebecca - good close reading!
If current players were prohibited from auditioning, that particular aspect of it seems unfair. As Mary Ellen says, mid-career pros likely don't have the option of dropping everything to prepare for auditions, but it should still be for them to decide.
"It's a little hard to imagine a university faculty made up entirely of adjuncts but I suppose it exists somewhere..."
Scott, I see your point but music departments at smaller universities are more likely to be adjunct-dependent than chemistry departments at R1's. My department hires very few adjuncts. We have non-TT faculty but they are hired with the expectation of becoming "permanent" (long-contract) employees and they are paid living wages with full benefits.
Let’s be honest they got sacked because management did not like them. It is true in every field.