Flautist Offers To School MP On How Orchestras Work - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Flautist Offers To School MP On How Orchestras Work

Published November 14, 2013

In the wake of a conservative MP’s remarks on the salaries of symphony members, a flautist from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra hopes to set the record straight for him over coffee.
Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason, addressing parliament yesterday on the subject of budget cuts, compared the monthly salaries of the average female police officer and the average female member of the symphony orchestra. By his figures, the former makes 305,700 ISK per month, while the latter makes 416,960 ISK. He added that he agrees with Vestmannaeyjabær mayor Elliði Vignisson that the government should better prioritise its spending.
Vísir reports that one member of the orchestra isn’t putting up with this sentiment. Melkorka Ólafdóttir, a flautist with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, sent the MP a letter, inviting him for a coffee to discuss the matter.
In the letter, she points out that even as a member of the orchestra, she only works part time and seasonally, receiving a salary of just over 105,000 ISK – “just enough to pay for my apartment (although not enough to pay down my student loan)”, she writes, continuing:

“But the purpose of this letter isn’t to whine about being penniless. Rather, I want to invite you for a cup of coffee. This is not a joke, nor sarcasm nor least of all flirting. I simply want to tell you a bit more about people like me, what we do and what we work for, as well as how the music world works. I find it unlikely that you will do anything but accept this invitation, as you are an elected representative of the people and as such have a lot of power. It ought to be in your interests to take the opportunity to meet someone like me and familiarise yourself with the matter from different points of view. I am usually free after five o’ clock and could meet you some time over the coming days if you want.”

A response from the MP is still pending.

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