Erin was poised to finish her Masters in Violin Performance at New England Conservatory this past May. We anticipated that she would eventually land a full-time orchestra position, but the classical music world being what it is, we knew that would likely take several years of auditioning, taking stop-gap fellowship positions with training orchestras, freelancing, teaching students here and there, subbing where possible, trying to make connections and keep building a resumé. A stressful life without much security, but it’s typical.
So imagine my surprise to get a text from her even before she actually graduated saying “So, I just won a job.”
She had flown back to Canada for the international audition round with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and … won it! Straight into a real full-time lucrative position from grad school. And a position that puts her closer to home (7 1/2 hours’ drive) by far than she has been since she was 16.
She had a summer fellowship at Tanglewood which she fulfilled because why not? … she had done it the previous summer and knew it would be an awesome experience (and some of it in the concertmaster’s chair) with some great repertoire, an would fill her summer until the CPO job started after Labour Day.
At the end of August she flew to Calgary with her violin and two suitcases, having shed all other possessions, and started apartment-hunting. She doesn’t drive and doesn’t have any interest in getting a car; Calgary is a ridiculously car-oriented city and I wasn’t sure how easily she would find a walkable situation. But she did! Her apartment is fifteen minutes’ walk from the concert hall, near a park and a library and shops and cafés, a ten-minute jog from the riverfront network of running trails, and not too far from public transit routes.
The base salary is more than generous for a newly-graduated single young adult, and there’s a fair bit of additional work (and pay!) available what with competition festivals, ballet gigs, livestreams and so on. Naturally she is picking up some chamber music gigs on the side as well.
Last weekend we all went to Calgary to meet up with her. Sophie and Noah flew in from Vancouver, and Chuck and Fiona and I drove (through the night on the eastbound journey!) from the Kootenays. We stayed at a cool Airbnb loft suite and did a sort of family Thanksgiving weekend together, minus the turkey, and plus the Plotnicks. The weekend’s symphony program was Disney stuff so we didn’t bother going to hear them play. We’ll do that another time when there’s a more enticing program.
It was great to have everyone together for the first time in almost two years. And to see our musician ensconced in a self-sufficient, rewarding, stable situation. Who’d have guessed, so soon?
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