The way they play: musician vulnerability in an employment context

Symphonic Metamorphoses maps the vulnerabilities of orchestral musicians in uncertain job markets in the Netherlands and the United States. While a great deal of academic attention has been paid to precarity in a multiplicity of sectors, musicians, the original gig workers have escaped extensive focus. The 21st century interplay of efficiency-driven cultural policies, general downward trends in cultural financing, and the devastating impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated working musicians’ employment. The story of their quest for fair remuneration and acceptable employment conditions parallels challenges faced by precarious workers in other sectors. Placing Dutch musicians on center stage, this article introduces the reader to several strata of vulnerability.