December 22, 2004
Union 1, Technology 0
Losing one’s job to technology is a familiar complaint these days, but union musicians in New York are not about to let it happen to them. Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians has successfully torpedoed a "virtual music" concert by the Opera Company of Brooklyn.
OCB planned a benefit concert using the "Sinfonia," an instrument manufactured by Realtime Music Solutions, that allows a single player to perform as an entire orchestra in real time. The opera company says it wants to use the Sinfonia to bring opera to places where costs make it impossible to perform. The music hall where the benefit concert was to be scheduled canceled the performance after musicians started picketing and police put up barricades around the building.
Odds are that this is just the first round in a long battle. The opera, of course, is never over until the fat lady sings.
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