I got an interesting email recently. I’ve edited it heavily and fictionalized almost all the details, since I’m using it here without permission, but you’ll get the idea:
I found your web page through a Google search. My company is presenting a themed cruise for classical music lovers departing from Seattle in February, featuring performances by a full symphony orchestra.
I am looking to hire a woodwind doubler to serve as a sort of human insurance policy, should something happen to one of our woodwind players while we are out to sea. I’m wondering if you know anyone in the area who would be interested. We will rehearse in Seattle before departure. Compensation is room and board on the ship and travel to the Hawaiian islands, plus $50 per service to attend all rehearsals, and $100 per concert if called upon to perform. I need someone who can play flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, and the repertoire is standard symphonic fare: Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, etc.
Let me know if there’s anyone you could recommend for this. There’s a nearby university with a degree program in multiple woodwinds, so I figure there must be a number of students or graduates who are available. I would like to hire someone in the area, since unfortunately we can’t pay for travel to Seattle.
Eddie Skousen, President
Classical Cruises, Inc.
I’ll confess to being sort of fascinated by the idea of being hired as a kind of utility backup for an orchestral woodwind section. And I did put out a call for some potential hires, but didn’t get any nibbles. It’s a creative idea, but there are a number of practical obstacles: Continue reading “The woodwind doubler as orchestral utility player”→
The issues here are complex, and I hope that the DMA and the CSO will be able to come to a solution that is fair to all involved and that keeps the music alive. But this point in the authors’ list of complaints caught my eye:
Musicians performing on more than one instrument receive “doubling pay.”
I don’t have the full details of the doubling pay currently available to CSO members (though the amount doesn’t appear to be the issue here—it’s the fact that any doubling pay is offered that seems to offend). But a slightly-outdated agreement between the DMA and the Boulder Philharmonic, summarized below, shows a typical doubling pay structure, and it’s a reasonable guess that the CSO’s is identical or very similar:
25% bonus for first double
10% for each additional double
B-flat and A clarinets count as one instrument
Alto and tenor saxophones count as one instrument
Alto and bass clarinets count as one instrument
Piccolo, larger flutes, English horn, E-flat clarinet, contrabassoon, soprano saxophone, and saxophones larger than tenor each count as a double, even when used in common combinations (like flute plus piccolo)
Though I am not currently a union member (due to a dearth of union gigs in my area), I frequently ask for doubling fees when negotiating my pay for gigs. Here’s why doubling fees make sense to me as a woodwind player: Continue reading “Doubling fees under fire in Denver”→
In what is turning out to be an approximately biannual roundup, I present the third installment of woodwind-related blogs that I’m enjoying, and you will too. If you’re late to the party, check out episodes 1and 2. (In each case I picked at least one excellent blog that shortly thereafter stopped publishing new content, so take a look at today’s picks and see if you can guess which is getting the “Bret Pimentel, woodwinds” curse. Bwahahahaha.)
Tammy is a former classmate of mine (go ‘Dawgs), and a flutist and educator to keep an eye on. Her blog, just a few months old, is outstandingly good: important topics, carefully thought out, and clearly and elegantly written. Tammy writes about flute performance and pedagogy, with a special interest in making practice time really effective. A must-read.