If you were at this week’s masterworks performances, hopefully you received a handout from the Musicians of the Knoxville Symphony. We are really enjoying greeting and meeting audience members face-to-face, as we usually only see them as a faceless crowd from the stage. We have such wonderful supporters, followers, and concert attendees who really care about the musicians that make the music!
MUSICIANS OF THE KSO: PART II
Last year we gave some 230 performances over our 35-week season: some were in concert halls, of course, but many were in classrooms, churches, hospitals, libraries, bars, museums, and parks from downtown Knoxville to rural areas throughout our region. Over the past few years, the KSO has established 4 new acclaimed concert series, built a nationally-recognized music and wellness program, and expanded educational outreach. KSO musicians’ presence in these unique settings underscores Knoxville’s tremendous growth and adds to Scruffy City’s character.
Four years ago, the orchestra took a giant step forward when the Principal Woodwind Quintet (WWQ) was brought from part-time to full-time, a move that was made possible by a generous grant from the Aslan Foundation. The grant expires at the end of this season, and the musicians of the KSO remain optimistic that we will secure the futures of these 5 musicians in our next contract. This will enhance the artistic integrity of the orchestra and ensure continuation of the wonderful WWQ concert and educational programming that has enlivened our community.
We are so proud to be working harder and reaching more members of our community than ever before, however our increase in work has not always been mirrored by our benefits. In the last three years, our work load has increased over 15% but our wages have barely kept up with inflation.
In addition to the time we spend practicing at home and at KSO rehearsal and performances, 94% of our part-time musicians and 56% of our full-time musicians work 1 to 7 other jobs to make ends meet. As the KSO’s offerings grow, many musicians have less time for other jobs, without an increase in income from their KSO employment.
Throughout the negotiation process, we are encouraging our management to move forward in their support of musicians, so that we can sustainably provide a growing orchestra for a growing Knoxville. Your voice of support and input is crucial to us. Please join us online at http://www.ksomusicians.org/connect