‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 114, No. 1January, 2014


Top row, left to right: Sam Peach, Steven Landau and William Frampton. Bottom row, left to right: Chris Hills, Blake Allen and Agnes Nagy.

Top row, left to right: Sam Peach, Steven Landau and William Frampton. Bottom row, left to right: Chris Hills, Blake Allen and Agnes Nagy.

I joined Local 802 for the whole package, really. The support and networking benefits are fantastic. The union has put me in touch with some great people so far. I would give an arm to play on Broadway, so I would say that’s my main musical goal in NYC. But performing as a professional sideman for an artist would also do nicely. I’m just happy playing — it can be anything, anywhere, but as long as I’m playing my instrument, I’m happy. I recently worked as musical director for an Off Broadway show and as sound director for a different show. I also played guitar for an R&B singer at Joe’s Pub. My primary instruments are guitar and bass.

Sam Peach

I rejoined Local 802 because I am now working at “Jekyll and Hyde” at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway. I got the job because I have a long professional history with the director, and have worked on another Wildhorn production out of state. Principally, I am a conductor and pianist/keyboard player.

Steven Landau

I rejoined Local 802 after finishing coursework for my doctorate and being invited to play as guest principal viola in the American Symphony Orchestra and as a viola substitute in the New York Philharmonic. I love being a freelance musician in New York because of opportunities like these to perform with wonderful colleagues in diverse settings. I enjoy playing all kinds of music, whether it’s orchestra, chamber music, Broadway, new music, pop/rock/folk, or something I haven’t even thought of yet.

William Frampton

I joined Local 802 because I value the professional support network it offers, both in terms of creating new opportunities and improving pay and conditions for musicians in general. My professional goals in NYC are to play guitar for and write songs with successful, original artists and producers working in rock, soul, R&B and folk/Americana. I am also producing songs for licensing/syncing. A recent gig was with Jason Jetplane, an R&B artist who has a demo deal with Interscope. I met him through the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals. My main instrument is guitar. I also play bass and keyboards, and I write lyrics and melodies.

Chris Hills

I joined Local 802 because being a professional musician in the New York City area is my next step to a successful career. Without the union, we wouldn’t have jobs or have people who petition and fight to keep the great jobs we have. I have a vast range of musical goals in NYC. “Reach for the heavens and you get the stars thrown in” is what I live by. I am an advocate for contemporary music, and I am exceedingly active in the up-and-coming composer scene. Also, I play in a lot of fun, commercial/crossover shows and recording sessions and also do some arranging and songwriting. One of my recent gigs was playing with my string quartet for Choral Chameleon’s FIVE, which was five works for string quartet and choir, commissioned by Choral Chameleon and Vince Peterson. I am currently working on a variety of other interesting projects. My principal instrument is the viola.

Blake Allen

I joined Local 802 because I would like to expand my career and my network of classical musicians. Also, I got an offer to play in a new production on Broadway, and being a member of the union is required. I grew up in Hungary, where I won the national cello competition at the age of 16 and later earned a master’s degree in music performance and played in various professional ensembles. I lived in Nigeria for four years, where I built a music school and formed an orchestra. I next came to the United States and won first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition of the New England Chamber Music Society, which resulted in a performance at Carnegie Hall. I served on the faculty of Coastal Carolina University for a year and performed as principal cellist with the Long Bay Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina. After I moved to New York City, I became a part of the jazz-rock group Sketchy Black Dog and I have performed at the Blue Note, Iridium, Birdland and Scullars.

Agnes Nagy