British Musicians ready to strike over 'virtual orchestra'

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by JackD, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. TangneyK

    TangneyK Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yeah, they started doing this at one of the theatres in Phoenix right before I left there. We stood outside before the start of the show handing out brochures and talking to the people going to see the show. We had at least one couple decide to ask for a refund.

    Well, here in the military, we've got the "Digital Bugle." :(

  2. mat

    mat New Friend

    Jan 27, 2004
    Berlin, Germany
    Vienna Symphonic Library:

    I was told, even great US-Jazzmusicians ordered the Library . . .

  3. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Any further word on the Virtual Orchestra in London?
    Local 802 afm is picketing a perormance of a Mozart opera in Brooklyn this evening. The company is using the VO machine instead of a live orchestra.
    I will be at the Sunday performace with a sign :x
  4. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.

    Yup, and we lost that fight big time. As well as Gamage Theater dictating scale for shows. It's why Russ and I don't do shows any more. Fred, Tommy and Scott still do. That's about it. You can do a rock and roll gig for 250, but a show's only 150. And you gotta put up with conductors that are frustrated over not being on Broadway. Rehearsal is more like band class. Hour in traffic each way......

    Technology will drive live performers back to playing in small venues for people that really love good music. Hey, maybe we should play for the sake of music and not money!!

    Better not give up my day gig.
  5. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    From Local 802 AFM
    On Friday evening, February 6, 2004, Local 802 achieved the first Union Agreement that prohibits the use of the "virtual orchestra".

    The agreement took place minutes before the OCB production was to begin. OCB has stated in writing that it would no longer employ the use of the "virtual orchestra" in any of its future productions. In addition, the ten "live" musicians are now members of Local 802 with all the benefits and protection the local has to offer. This is only the beginning, but not a bad way to start. Sunday's protest is now unnecessary and has been canceled in light of the agreement. Watch for the particulars in Allegro.

    If we hang together we can win
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Congratulations to all of you folks who fought for the integrity of MUSIC, Wilmer. Does this mean you won't have to wander around outdoors holding a snow shovel over your head on Sunday?

    Bet it REALLY upset you to find that out! NOT!!
  7. dbacon

    dbacon Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Scottsdale, AZ.

    Congratulations, Wilmer! Shows what a real UNION for musicians can do, especially when they realize the audience is sophisticated enough to know what real performers add to the experience.
  8. BachMan

    BachMan Pianissimo User

    Dec 9, 2003
    Congratulations to you Wilmer!

    And to all the musicians in NYC!

    Great Win :!:
  9. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Congratulations to Wilmer, but....

    I would also applaud Wilmer's efforts and those of his union partners in NYC. I sincerely hope they can keep hope alive for the rest of us.

    There is a "but" in my subject line, though. Here it comes. But look at markets like Chicago. We can't ALL be in NYC (still kickin' myself for not making the decision when I was 25! Oh well!). Chicago is a huge market. Granted it isn't as big as NYC, but we're not that far behind.

    I remember when we had the Schubert with musicals all the time. The Arie Crown had big shows in heavy rotation. The Blackstone theater was always jumpin'. There was the Goodman and the Chicago. These venues all employed large orchestras 30+ plus and more - the Arie Crown is a big place!). What about all of these theaters now? The Blackstone is gone. The Goodman does a musical for only a couple of weeks at a time maybe once or twice a year. I can't remember the last time a musical was running at the Schubert, which is dark as often as not. The Chicago is primarily a house for hire, and there is no steady work there. The Arie Crown is like the Chicago - more of a house for hire - no steady musicals. Oh yeah, the run the Nutcracker for a few days around Christmas. We do have the new Cadillac Theater, which ran Lion King for just about one year and then pulled the plug. I don't know what is playing there now. I do know that a buddy of mine, a fine trombone player, quit his steady jobbing gig to take the Cadillac gig and is now out of work. Tough biz.

    Is theater work dead in Chicago? Not exactly, but it isn't healthy. We have a few dinner theaters, like The Candelight in Oakbrook and the Lincolnshire, but they are hardly survivable venues. One very fine trumpeter who is busy in these dinner theaters actually did a column for the union newspare one time on how to collect unemployment! This was deemed a valuable piece of imformation for all theater musicians. How sad.

    I remember playing the ice shows every year and many many circus gigs. Most of that stuff is gone now (using canned music on the ice shows - can't comment on the circus, but I don't know anyone working those gigs anymore - caned, too, I suspect).

    Of course the whole jingle scene in Chcago is in total disarray, due to canned music, synths, sequencers and now looping software. It is truly amazing at what can be accomplished without an orchestra.

    Again, I applaud the efforts of those musical troopers in NYC. My happiness is guarded however - sort of waiting for the next shoe to drop. I think we all need to be really alert and strive to develop new venues and opportunities to survive and make our ART - MUSIC.

    In reading the other posts on this issue, I have been fascinated by your comments. Excellent ideas, all! One person said maybe we should play for the sake of the music and not the money. To this I would respond 'yes' and 'no.'

    Of course we are all playing for the sake of the music. We love it. We love the way it feels to make it. We love the way it feels to share it. Most of us would do this for nothing. However, we have to eat. Also, our craft is NOT truly disposable and unnecessary. As naive and maudlin as this sounds, the world would not be as livable a place if folks didn't have access to what we do. We ARE needed. We should be able to ply our trade with dignity and respect.

    Now, I must be honest about being a true hypocrite in all of this. I have never been able to land a recording deal. I have to conceede that much of my music isn't good enough to deserve such consideration. However, my brother and I shopped a killer demo all up and down both coasts. Most of our packages were never opend or tapes listened to. The frustration of being ignored is far worse than just being told our music is bad. Well, I'm rambling. Let me get to the point of my hypocrisy. You see, I now use synths and sequencers and looping software to create backdrops for my solo work as a trumpeter. I desparately wish I could use live musicians to back me up on these recordings, but I can't afford to. I will NEVER ask my professional peers to play for me on spec - for free. I can't make myself do that. So I'm stuck. While I am budgeting for several live action sessions this summer, in general, I haven't got the dough. So,I use this electronica. I confess. I'm sorry.

    However, I do see myself as trying to take the very technology that has decimated my own career and turn it around to create a new one for myself. I THINK I am trying to be resourceful in this matter. I am trying to let people hear me who would have NEVER heard me or of me ever before. Yeah, I still have to have a day gig, but I find that there are venues slowing opening up. Maybe, just maybe, I WILL be able to quit my day gig. Until then, I've got two kids to get through college!

    Wilmer, my man, my hat is off to you. You and your peers have my humble respect. I wish you all the best in keeping it going for as long as possible.

    Thanks for enduring my rant. These are just my opinions, and nothing more.


    Nick Drozdoff

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