Sunday, October 10, 2004

The rich life of a free-lance viola player...

The life of a free-lance violist in this city is unpredictable and occasionally exciting. Certainly the money or security of the work is nowhere close to that enjoyed by a full-time violist in a major symphony orchestra. The major Orchestra in this town (which is considered to be "second tier") , for example, pays its section string players around sixty thousand dollars a year. And that is the starting salary. When I play a free-lance job , I am lucky to come away with 200 dollars. That is on a good day. And this only happens once or twice a month. But the lack of financial reward suffered by the free-lance musician is more than made up for by the quirky experiences that often often come about in our insecure and ill-paid occupation.

The past two weeks offer three good examples of this. I played three jobs. And
all three were, for different reasons, a bit quirky.

Job #1: played in a "pick-up" orchestra that backed up a group of prominant pop musicians from Mexico. The concert was devoted to the music of Augistin Lara.

Job #2: played in the viola section of a suburban Symphony orchestra. The concert was devoted to 19th century Russian music.

Job #3 : played fiddle tunes during the cocktail hour that preceded a square dance sponsered by a local Episcopalian Church with my friend "Joe Fingers"...a splendid guitarist. We played a set of English Country Dances in a "country and western style" (to more fit in with the "square dance theme" of the evening.) I'm glad the English County Dance Society wasn't there to hear the performance. They would have taken care of us in short order; charging us with high crimes against musical style and, after the execution, lodging our sorry bones under the back porch of the venerable church in which we had lately commited our musical and stylistic crimes.

I'll reflect on these three jobs in the next few blogs.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Dad! Just checking in. I like hearing all about your gigs...

love, Becks

11:54 AM

Blogger Gus said...

Thanks Becs...I'll try to keep bogging away....
I didn't think anybody read this g.d thing....


8:33 PM


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