Forms of Precarity and the Orchestral Musician

Brian Long


Orchestral musicians are a very heterogeneous professional group. Some enjoy among the highest levels of job security of any performing artists while others struggle to sustain patchwork lives as players. Their experience of precarity comes in many forms. Even players who appear to have secure employment conditions may find their career made precarious by physical or mental health risks, stress caused by performance pressure, the requirement to sacrifice much of their artistic autonomy or structural features of the sector such as low remuneration rates. This article provides an overview of these myriad forms of precarious work among orchestral musicians while also considering various responses that attempt to address the problem.


Orchestral musicians, precarious work, co-operative governance, social security

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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