As a high school musician who has learned so much from the world-class artists of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, I fully support their strike, which is completely necessary. Not all share this viewpoint, however, and have claimed the musicians are greedy, that the proposed salary is plenty and that musicians should be happy to receive the proposed wages as they ensure quality of living. This viewpoint is degrading to artists of all kinds and ignores the sacrifices musicians have made to share their gift of music.
To these people, I would ask them how they would feel if their pay was cut 15 percent and their pension frozen. I would also ask them to consider the overall cost these musicians have paid for their craft. Apart from countless hours of practice, they have spent thousands on education, a fine instrument (easily twice the dollar value of any car you drive) and travel to auditions across the world until securing an orchestral position. This overall cost for many musicians is at least twice their yearly salary in the symphony before the proposed cuts.
They deserve to earn competitive wages in exchange for their tremendous talent and sacrifice. In addition, these cuts will lessen the interest of future artists in Pittsburgh, drawing their attention to other orchestras with higher wages and lessening the future quality of the orchestra.
Pittsburgh must maintain a high orchestral quality, and the only way to do this is to employ these world-class musicians at a world-class salary.
The writer is a senior at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School and a cellist with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony.