Story on local musicians affected by economic downturn
Among the many people affected by the recession are those involved in the arts. In today's paper, I offer a look at how a couple of musicians are faring now that they lost their expected gigs with the Baltimore Opera Orchestra and two other ensembles. (Freelance musicians are used to having to scramble for a living, and they often supplement musical work with part-time jobs outside the field. In that regard, they may be slightly more fortunate than, for example, full-time administrative and production staffers who lost their jobs when the opera company went bust.)
If you're a regular concertgoer in the area, you've seen both of these players -- double bassist Laura Ruas (left) and violinist Tamara Seymour (right). Some of my story about them didn't make it into print because of space, so here's a little bit more:
The couple met while getting their degrees at the Juilliard School in New York -- Ruas is a Bronx native, Seymour a New Jerseyite ("I'm from Exit 7A," she says) -- and performed in the New World Symphony, a post-graduate training orchestra in Miami led by celebrated conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. After their New World stint, they remained in South Florida, performing regularly with a several concert and opera orchestras.
"We got tired of Florida," Ruas says. "Some friends told us to come up to Baltimore. They said we could get some gigs here. This looked like a nice town, and there was opera and a symphony here. And moving back to New York would have been too expensive."
Since settling here, they’ve seen music organizations go through good financial times and bad, just as they did in Florida, each slump affecting the work load.
The two musicians talk about possibly moving to a place with cheaper rent. They have eliminated some things from their lives to save on expenses, but they haven’t lost their sense of humor. “You have to be positive,” Seymour says. “You have to get up in the morning with a smile and remember how much you love music. All you need is love, baby — and a Lexus.”
BALTIMORE SUN STAFF PHOTO (Karl Merton Ferron)