noun (plural maestri /-stri/ or maestros)
a distinguished conductor or performer of classical music: the orchestra was strained after clashes with the great maestro
early 18th century: Italian, ‘master’, from Latin magister
Arturo Toscanini, from The New Grove Dictionary of Opera:
….Energy, single-mindedness, impetuosity combined with an inflexible will, fanatical perfectionism, and an almost morbid self-criticism were among Toscanini’s most remarkable characteristics. He drove himself as few if any other executive musicians have done; the sheer amount of work he accomplished staggers the imagination. If he was ferocious in his demands on others, and in his criticism of them when they fell short of their best, he was still more dissatisfied with himself, rarely feeling that he had attained the ideal he envisaged. From this, as much as from a naturally dictatorial personality, stemmed the legendary and often terrifying outbursts of rage….
In a 2 to 1 decision the National Labor Relations Board found that orchestral musicians who play in per service orchestras are employees, not independent contractors and are thus eligible to organize. That’s all well and good. It’s the dissent [pdf] that’s really interesting:
….Looking beyond the musicians’ control over where, when, and for whom they will work, I disagree with my colleagues’ conclusion that the musicians’ control over their work ends once they decide to perform with the Symphony. To be sure, at that point, the Symphony controls the conduct of the rehearsals and performances, as well as oversees certain artistic aspects of a performance. But, practically speaking, work by creative profession independent contractors is often performed to the specifications and on the timetable of the hiring party, but that structure does not convert an independent contractor to an employee. See Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 750-751 (1989) (Court found a sculptor to be an independent contractor even though the nonprofit association that hired him defined the scene to be sculpted and specified the details of the sculpture’s appearance, including its scale and the materials to be used); and Radio City Music Hall Corp. v. U.S., 135 F.2d 715, 717-718 (2d Cir. 1943) (court found performers to be independent contractors even where the producer controlled the timing and conduct of rehearsals and directed the performers to “weld” together the performance). This is particularly true where, as here, the employer’s artistic control and direction is primarily related to the end product, i.e., the sound and look of the symphony as a whole,not the manner in which the individual musicians providing their services prepare for and perform the work.2 See DIC Animation City, 295 NLRB at 991; Young & Rubicam International, 226 NLRB at 1275-1277; and American Broadcasting Co., 117 NLRB 13, 18 (1957). Thus, based on the above discussion of the right of control factor, I would find that the record evidence weighs in favor of finding the musicians to be independent contractors….
“…This is particularly true where, as here, the employer’s artistic control and direction is primarily related to the end product, i.e., the sound and look of the symphony as a whole, not the manner in which the individual musicians providing their services prepare for and perform the work…”
Try telling that to a freakin’ orchestra conductor, putz.
Oh, yeah, that dissenter?:
….Brian Hayes, the lone Republican member of the labor board….