NY Phil Audition Challenge: Week 6

Greetings from beautiful Fort Wayne, Indiana!

It's very grey, wet, and suddenly fall-ish here, but it's okay because I'm finally back at work.

At least, I wish it were that simple. I wish I could say I were simply back at work at one of my three very stable (if annoyingly far apart) jobs, but that's not exactly the case. In the past week, I've attended a very contentious contract review meeting for EACH of my union gigs—Orchestra Iowa and, this morning, here at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. That's far more labor disputes than I ever hoped to be part of, especially all at once.

Luckily, Orchestra Iowa looks like it's going to be okay. But in Fort Wayne, well. I'm starting my second full season without a contract, but they'd been playing without a contract for about half a season before that. They took a massive 17.5% pay cut in the last contract (plus five weeks chopped off the season, and two violin positions eliminated) in hopes of balancing the budget after nasty recession-induced losses, with the understanding that the next contract would start to restore what had been lost. So far, though, they haven't been able to agree with management on what "restoration" should look like. Both sides have points where they don't want to budge, points where they can stretch, and hope for a sustainable future for the orchestra. It's just that the two sides' visions still don't match up, after almost two years of negotiation.

It's nerve-wracking.

We're not the only ones. The Fort Worth Symphony (Texas, not Fort Wayne, Indiana, as I'm often reminding people) recently went on strike after their contract negotiations broke down. More and more orchestras are finally making gains in their contracts again, after losing HARD in the recession, but many smaller orchestras are still struggling.

Musicians just want to make music for the people in their communities, and they don't want to starve while doing it. But nobody wants the music to stop just because of money. So if you're near any of these orchestras (or you just want to give them a boost), please consider supporting the musicians of Fort Wayne or Fort Worth on Facebook.

But for now, we keep on playing. Our season opener is on Saturday, and barring some catastrophe, we'll be performing same as always. This weekend, I'm staying with a wonderful couple who are deeply involved with the Philharmonic, and the musicians are wearing these tee shirts every night to rehearsal in the name of solidarity.

There are going to be some crusty shirts by Saturday!

I wish my position in Fort Wayne were full time, because I really like the orchestra and the people in it. But since it's not, I'll keep working toward my own personal goals—which, this week, means practicing Daphnis and Chloe (my replacement for La Mer) obsessively in my hosts' guest room (even though this week's program is all Russian).

In the video:

Daphnis. Nothing but Daphnis.

(Of course, after I finished this, I practiced Tchaik 4 like a good little paid musician.)

That's it for this week! Next week, I'm going to skip straight to week 4, which is all about visualization. And I may try out a new way to do mock auditions... stay tuned.