The joint concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera, Benjamin Bowman, has found alternative employment. Bowman has made this disclosure on social media:
I emptied my Met locker the other day. If that wasn’t difficult enough, I then walked outside with my suitcase and saw this “Met Stars” poster at Lincoln Center, featuring 100% NON-Met musicians. Struck me as quite insensitive and insulting. It was a profoundly emotional moment for me.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Very recently, I was offered a contract to lead a fine German orchestra for several months.
After 8 months of borrowing and draining my savings accounts, I will finally be able to start to rebuilding. The cost: I leave my family tomorrow, for an unknown period of time. I’m elated and devastated at the same time.
Back to our situation here in the USA though:
In a country that doesn’t support the arts very well, it is imperative that management values what it is “selling”, and that we seek empathetic leadership with sincere vision – both artistic and economical. Our lives – Met lives – are being majorly impacted by this, every day. A third of our orchestra has already had to leave the NYC area — and that’s not to speak of myriad other challenges we are all facing everyday, with no end in sight.
I hope that this world-class orchestra returns to work one day with a respectable contract and a dignified outlook. The Met musicians certainly deserve this, and the international community too.
Sadly, healthcare plus $0 isn’t enough to retain much talent these days. We need advocacy on all levels, urgently. The future of our culture depends on it.
See also: Peter Gelb says he must cut wages