Oh, you are preaching to the choir here! Absolutely true, and it’s outrageous. I have gone to conferences and asked management people why they can’t put up a united front and tell the agencies what they CAN afford, then hold that line. It saddens me that many symphony musicians are struggling to get by at below-poverty wages while the soloist walks in and, in some rarefied cases, makes more in one evening than they make all year. Sure, the soloists should make a good living, but not to the point that the musicians are put out of work or face huge pay cuts. Interestingly, when a soloist from the ranks of the orchestra is asked to perform exactly the same concerto, they are offered a much smaller remuneration than a visitor, and it doesn’t matter if they play brilliantly, note-perfectly, from memory. Even more insultingly, they get much less publicity. Is it because they assume that audiences won’t be large, so they don’t want to risk spending a lot of money? Have they bought into the Hollywood concept of paying huge salaries to the stars, while excellent actors and brilliant writers wait on tables all over L.A.?