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When is it time to retire?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by Prescottissimo, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Well, friends, I thought it was time we discuss this important issue.

    When is it time to retire?

    Our European friends are required to retire at the ripe old age of 65 or something like that, but what is important is that they are required to retire at all and it is enforced, not an arbitrary time left up to each individual's honor system, if they have one. You won't find stagehands carrying instruments for geri people in walkers over there. (yes, this has happened in a professional orch!)

    When you lose whatever faculties you had, do you know you lost them?

    Something to think about before going into debt at music school.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'll retire when I'm dead. As for losing faculties, judging by myself (haven't lost a lot but I can feel them slipping away slightly), I think you notice it. Some people are just in denial.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Same here. I'll play as long as people will share a stage with me. Maybe later on, I'll hire some kid to catch the bass when I keel over onstage.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    If you don't clean up both your act and your ridiculous profile, that decision will be made for you and your IP address. I don't have time for whimsical usenet persona games...life is too short to waste on tripe like this. Make up your mind, and quickly - or your lack of haste will be your decision.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I may be wasting my time here **coughtrollcough** - but I will say that's simply not true - I have seen many flourishing European Jazz and classical musicians who are in their 70s or older!

    In fact the older Jazz generation had a celebration recently for one of our favourite ex-pats - Kenny Wheeler's 70th birthday! :)
  6. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    ????????????? What?
  7. hebass

    hebass ---

    Apr 22, 2005
    I think Prestotissimo's asking when is time to retire from an orchestra job, not from bass playing altogether. Am I right?
    Its a good question and I've heard too that several European countries do have mandatory retirement ages for their orchestral musicians. Is it possibly bc some of the orch jobs over there are paid state/gov jobs?
  8. My dear hebass friend, who is someone other than myself, my name is Prescottissimo - not a tempo marking like our belated friend ACB, whom I miss dearly. In general speaking, you are correct, I am referring to those bass player friends who are so lucky as to have a prestigious position with a paying orchestra.
    Some from the past were grandfathered into more money and more talent than when they were appointed in a less competetive audition and some without any audition at all!
    Unlike those now who work hard, travel far, and only a minute percentage will ever get a great gig if any.

    I can't tell you just how much I appreciate your kind response. You are a treasure.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Uh huh. Give a man enough rope...

    Dance on the edge of that chair some more, friend. No, really...it won't tip. :rolleyes:
  10. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Hey, One thing to consider when retirement age comes up.. IN the USA when an empolyee of a major symphony orchestra for example Philly , fills 70, said employee is required by law to start receiving pension payments IN ADDITION to full tenured salary with seniority extra payments. SO do the math boys.
    In Europe retirement varies from 62-67 based on how many years you have worked. The same 85 year formula applies I believe.Pension wind up to be around 66% of the best three years of your career The difference is that most pensions are paid out from the state NOT private companies and 401k plans are non existant here in europe . It is though going in that direction and within the next 20 years one will find similar plans and options as in the usa. For better or worse.

    Another reason for letting people work longer in the USA is because as you all know tha Social Security is not secure at all and basically gives NO pension which one can live off of thus the freedom for musicians to work longer. You all are paying for the ones receiving benefite NOW.

    I don't know I think after 35 years in an orchestra it could be time to let some other young musicians a chance to play by requiring a mandatory retirment age. But of course mandatory retirment in the USA would equate socialist policy and goodness knows how voters feel about democratic socialism in the USA.(Though aren't postal workers required to retire?? Before they go postal.)
    There would be a revolution, not because it resembles socialism but because nowadays people can not afford to retire at 65. ONce in the system it keeps you there till it is through with you.
    And then you go to Florida......Hopefully.

    But hey maybe I'm wrong.
  11. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Yes almost forgot.
    Most if not ALL orchestras in Europe are funded by the state or local govt.
    In my orchestra it is one of two National Institutions on par with museums and some other theaters. That means we get 100% of our budget from one source.
    This has advantages.
    -we can preform what we want.
    -we have the freedom to gamble on new music and support composers and art in a true sense not based on market influences but on artistic values.
    -we only do one pops concert a year. :hyper:
    -I don't make enough as some of my USA colleagues do for the same level of orchestra.
    -govts go bust and oil wells go dry lowering budgets( but hey we can go to war)
    -we live in a society( europe) where the philanthropic mindset is looked apon as decadent and uneccassary thus forcing us to have one private corporate sponsor only.
    -our friends of the orchestra don't give us champagne reception but we did get new concert clothes!

    I miss the USA dearly BUT when I see some of the programing it just saddens me. No new music to speak and even though I am irritated by mch dissonance it really seems as if the programing is dumbing down to the star wars level og programing. A shame. People need to be challenged.

    One does need to remeber that europe was devastated by many wars during the last 100 years and they have managed to be rebuilt ,albeit with american dollarsto help, as well as could be imagined. Most euros are ticked off by the decadence of americans ( so called decadence) but I know americans work there ass off( can I say ass here?) in everything they do. It's just that the arts suffer over markets.
    I'm done gotts to go wash some winders::
  12. mflaherty


    Oct 9, 2001
    You can't keep a good troll down!
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    You've got mail. :eyebrow:
  14. Wow G-Force - that is really interesting. I have always heard rumors that European orchestras don't pay incredibly well but never was able to confirm. I hear in Europe the focus is also more on the music rather than the mistakes as in the US. A good friend of mine went to Berlin for a short festival and was far more musically fulfilled than in the US where she currently plays.
    The artistic freedom with the new music sounds most incredible and especially the 1 pops a year.... w o w. Unbelievable. Don't tell the guys in Cinci!

    Your posts were SO great!!!

    I actually feel that I am not entirely for the mandatory retirement age as there can be unusual exceptions of rare talent and longevity but these are generally exceptions. But to turn one of theose exceptions away by means of mandatory retirement would seem criminal, although the system is beneficial otherwise. With music directors ever more afraid to take charge with rejuvenating orchs by offering the option of retirement before firing it can lead to epidemics of geris. In some cases I've heard that here conductors will actually treat the most unqualified, geri people better than new winners just to garner secure loyalty.
    Meanwhile a host of social problems arise when those geris begin to believe that they simply are better than the new winners no matter how poor their intonation, hearing, talent, general technique is (or nonexistent). I've heard so many stories... such as musicians falling asleep during performances only to be awoken by the sound of them landing ont heir instruments... dropping instruments, tripping on instruments, hitting themselves in the head with their own instrument during perfs!!! I've seen concerts where some people's bows were playing 1/2 or 1/3 the tempo of others in moderately fast passages - simplifying while the players are busy playing for them.
    There was a FANTASTIC Chicago Tribune article in the past year about this very subject. It said that when the geris stick around past expiration points they create enormous physical burdens for the rest of their string section as they HAVE to cover up for what the geri is failing to do. Resulted in higher injury rates but there was nothing anyone could do about it. :(

    Just goes to show that things don't last forever.
  15. Oh, just one more thing, who is Ron B?
  16. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Prescottissimo, you have some good points. especially when you talk about quality vs age. Ok I know "geri" whom have retired years ago and yet still hold the gig. what I mean is they show up play air bass, talk about the good ole days when Stokie would fire people or the time jethro got his bow stuck in a tractor gear, go home , repeat next day. This you will find in all orchestras from Berlin to Greater Bumphuk Philharmonc. No getting around it no sireee.
    I just wanted to set a couple of things straight before my europeans colleagues get upset. When it comes to salary it is hard to compare to USA salaries. It is as if the european system is "all inclusive" and the american is a la carte. My kids if they want to go to college and become a doctor go for free. everyone does here in Norway. Healthcare is basically free ( my out of pocket cost) and not to mention the gig itself is a dream. My season gives me about 10-15 weeks a years paid vacation. Of course this is not the norm. But none the less, I play two concerts a week and almost always have the whole weekend off. It is a life to consider. Ok gas is 6 buck a gallon and a beer can be 6 bucks for a Bud but hey I hate the king of beers.
    european life is generally much more secure and the tendancy is to enjoy life first and then see how much work is to be done.
    When it comes to european orch style and tradition , you can't really say that Americans play in tune and boring and europeans musically and out of tune...It happens and both suck if you ask me. I am stuck in between playing both out of tune and with no rhythm.....
    But hey someday it will be my turn to be the grumpy old guy in the section.
  17. G-Force, how about those geris who don't have the sense or courtesy to even air bass, instead showing up and playing the air horn bass.

    For example, there is a great story about a gentleman geri who was so completely geri that he didn't know his wheel wasn't on and pushed his bass from the parking lot (on the grass) as if the wheel had been on!
    He didn't even notice the turf stuck to his bass endpin or the line he bulldozed through the grass from the parking lot to the hall...

    This bass owner always plays on the bridge on Spiros and pulls the bow at a 45 degree angle to assure maximum airhorn output. Trem is done by pulling the bow vertically up and down the string - forget those pesky bowing movements just scrub away.
  18. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Prescottissimo, Was that YOU at my concert!! I thought I had the stroller on. Air horn bass that is awesome!!! Well I know but enlightenment comes from different sources. There are masters who teach enlightenment through peaceful mindfulness and there are those who demand you listen to reality by throwing rocks at you. either case there is learning to be had if one chooses it.
    Ari horn bass...that was the highlight of my day
    thanks ...

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