How do these musicians survive?

This is a photo of Constance Uejio, who plays the harp as a member of the Hawaii Symphony:


This is the chamber orchestra that accompanied the harp soloist, Constance Uejio.  Her gold harp is on the right side of the photo:


This is the full orchestra:


Yesterday, David and I attended a concert at the Blaisdell Concert Hall to hear Constance Uejio play Handel’s Harp Concerto.  She was excellent!  For an encore, she played a piece featuring glissando.  Also, excellent!  We then were treated to works by Beethoven and Sibelius, performed by the full orchestra and conducted by Joseph Swensen.

Back in 1993, I invited 50 friends to my home to hear Constance Uejio (harp), Steve Flanter (viola), and a flutist (can’t remember her name) play works by Mozart and Scott Joplin.  This was followed by a question and answer period to discuss the plight of the Honolulu Symphony musicians.  The musicians were on strike during the 1993-1994 season to protest their low wages and poor conditions.  It was an interesting evening, and my friends enjoyed listening to this trio play and speak in my home.

Much later, the Honolulu Symphony did declare bankruptcy and did shut down for three years.  Five or six years ago, wealthy patrons pooled their money to form the Hawaii Symphony (new name), and it is this orchestra that we heard yesterday.  Hopefully, this reincarnation of the orchestra will be permanent, and there will be no more strikes by the musicians or declarations of bankruptcy by the board.

I don’t know how these musicians survive in expensive Hawaii.  But, I am so grateful that we get to hear live symphonic music on a regular basis.  Let’s give these wonderful, hard working musicians a standing ovation.  I am so proud of them!

10 Responses to “How do these musicians survive?”

  1. Beatrice Says:

    Sounds and looks like you had a wonderful weekend afternoon of music. We are thankful that the NH Symphony Orchestra holds concerts here in Nashua, NH.

  2. Joanne Noragon Says:

    I am sure they would appreciate a raise in pay with the ovation. Being an artist is a frugal living.

  3. dkzody Says:

    You are so fortunate to have such good music. Bravo to these musicians for doing what they love, and as you say, for little money. Most of the orchestra musicians in Fresno have day jobs and the music is a hobby.

  4. David Says:

    That was certainly a wonderful and magical afternoon of music!

  5. Christine Says:

    The Arts depend on funding.

  6. Christine Says:

    usually by an organisation or government, I meant to add

  7. DeniseinVA Says:

    Long may the musicians of the Hawaii Symphony be able to perform. There really is nothing like hearing one of these performances live.

  8. Bella Rum Says:

    It’s interesting what we value in our society. If someone can bounce a basketball, we give him a shoe commercial. A musician, not so much. A shame.

  9. Tom Sightings Says:

    I agree, we greatly underappreciate the musicians in our world. So message to all: go to a live concert; pay full price; enjoy the magic that ensues.

  10. joared Says:

    Perhaps they survive as so many musicians we knew, including when my husband was playing professionally with his own groups before I knew him, then later, when he chose to work less with others — they had what they called “real jobs” in more traditional businesses.

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