The path forward

Volume 122, No. 10November, 2022

Pamela Greitzer-Manasse

Pamela Greitzer-Manasse and Jon Manasse in the living room of their Upper West Side home on a recent Sunday with Babka, their 9-year-old beagle mix. Photo by Daniel Krieger, as first published in the West Side Rag. Reprinted in Allegro by permission of Daniel Krieger.

To all my friends and colleagues at Local 802,

As I begin to type this, I start with a deep breath. Telling and retelling my story takes much strength and courage.

This past July, I was hit head-on by an electric moped — ironically, while crossing in front of Lincoln Center, where I marched as a child and spent much of my life since walking. That day, I had been coming from a Mostly Mozart rehearsal of “Rhapsody In Blue” that my husband, clarinetist Jon Manasse, was playing. We were walking with Chris Pell, another colleague and former clarinet student of Jon’s. Because I was hit head on, I went flying through the air, landing on my head and causing a traumatic brain injury. This left me partially paralyzed on my right side. I continue to regain strength, but my prognosis is still unclear. As of now, I am unable to play or perform cello. (For those who want to know more, the accident was covered in depth by the West Side Rag in a story by Daniel Krieger.)

As a cellist, I joined Local 802 about 40 years ago, when I was still at Juilliard. My father Sol Greitzer joined in 1951, 71 years ago. He was principal violist of the New York Philharmonic, as well as a freelance musician before and after his 30 years at the Phil. He impressed upon me the importance of being a union member. So did my mother, a pianist, who was also a lifelong 802 member. During the summer of 1956, just after my sister Debbie was born, my father was on a two-month tour of Europe, miserable about being away so long from his wife and newborn child. He wrote to my mother that this would be the last tour like this. He was right: a new contract set in 1957 would limit the days of a tour like that among many other crucial negotiations. In 1973, my sisters and I marched in front of Avery Fisher Hall with Local 802 and the musicians of the Phil as they fought for a better contract.

I can remember starting to work alongside my dad in the 1980s, and him telling me, “You need to memorize your union card number like you memorize your social security number.” I recently said these same words to our son, who is a clarinetist and a proud Local 802 member since 2014.

In the aftermath of my horrific, life-changing accident, our colleagues and orchestra affiliates have been incredible. This caring and devoted community is glued together by our love of music, love and support for each other, and through the values we all stand for. These values, just like 71 years ago when my father became a union member, are woven into our fabric as musicians. We are bound together in part by watching out for each other. Our colleagues and orchestra affiliates have been right there for us. I personally want to give a shout out to my cello sections and the administrations of Orchestra Lumos (formerly known as the Stamford Symphony), Steve Reinecke, Ann Swanson and Gemini Productions of the New York Pops.

The union remains vital and continues to be ever present in our lives as musicians.

There are a variety of campaigns that exist in NYC to keep pedestrians safe and promote safe traffic flow. If you want information on all of our political efforts at Local 802, please contact Chief of Staff Dan Point.