Homeless violinist ‘was victim of Minnesota Orchestra lockout’

Homeless violinist ‘was victim of Minnesota Orchestra lockout’


norman lebrecht

January 20, 2016

The man who lost all his possessions in Portland, Oregon, when the car he lived in caught fire was (we have been informed by a Slipped Disc reader) one of the musicians who was forced out of the Minnesota Orchestra during its brutal lockout regime.

David Wright said at the time: ‘I played with the Minnesota Orchestra, and I was a career musician for 29 years. I heard from [MOA board member] Jim Davis last year, and I knew that this was not going to go well, so I left and took a severely reduced pension, with a cut of 11 percent.’

This was David then.

David Wright,+former+MN+Orchestra+violinist

And now.

violinist lives in car

We’re trying to find a way to contact him and raise help.


  • Susan Bradley says:

    Norman, you have a good heart. Please inform as to how we can help. This is what the internetz is for.

  • Larry says:

    Perhaps the Oregon Symphony could employ him as a substitute/extra musician?

    • Emil Archambault says:

      There are rules and priority lists for supernumeraries. And, employing one musician means also not employing someone else (often a young – not always – or a freelance musician) who is already on a precarious salary.

  • Katie Morgan says:

    Is there any way I can donate? We musicians need to stick together and help each other out during dark times.

  • Sarah says:

    The man has a storage unit in town. He also wears xl shirts and size 13 shoes. He was lucky enough to have car insurance.

    • Katie Morgan says:

      Your point is…? He was still struggling, car insurance, XL shirts, or not. His car was his home, so it needed insurance. And XL shirts…? – So what? People usually gain weight and need XL shirts because of poor diet, because they can’t afford healthy food. Have a little compassion, please.

  • MacroV says:

    The headline seems misleading. This may come across as unsympathetic but I look it as being hopeful:

    If he played in the Minnesota Orchestra for 28 years he should be getting a decent pension, enough to keep him off the streets, I would think, unless he has experienced other financial calamities. The 11% pension “cut” he referred to in the article is probably the reduced payment he will get because he retired before he hit the maximum (I’d guess at 30 years), and he seems to have decided to retire in anticipation of the lockout, so he would get a pension income while the active musicians were locked out and received nothing.

    The good news is he is presumably continuing to receive a pension, and will eventually receive Social Security (plus Medicare). If he’s homeless now, it would seem there are other factors – unrelated to the lockout – at work. In which case I certainly hope he gets the help he needs.

  • David Wright says:

    I am David Wright, the retired violinist who is the “info-taint-meat” of this story. I am a writer and traveler and continue to enjoy my life, thankful to have escaped the car fire just in time. I don’t need anyone’s help. I am not homeless. I prefer a mobile life and the custom-tailored tiny creation of my lovely micro-home. We “tire tramps” are a growing population and are neither degenerates nor criminals. My friends and I tried to make it clear to inquiries from news outlets that I wanted no publicity about my careless mistake, neglecting to disconnect an electric blanket from my auxiliary battery. I was preparing for an extended road-trip so I’d pulled extra possessions out of storage. My storage garage nearly burned down last year due to drunken neighbors I didn’t know letting a kitchen fire rage out of control. Accidents will happen to you too.