The Baltimore Symphony, Seeking Cuts, Locks Out Its Musicians – News


The cash-strapped Baltimore Symphony Orchestra locked out its musicians on Monday, because it sought to strain the gamers into agreeing to a brand new contract with fewer paid weeks of labor.

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“As a result of Baltimore Symphony’s pressing want to handle longstanding monetary points and alter its enterprise mannequin, the B.S.O. has made this extraordinarily tough resolution,” Peter Kjome, the orchestra’s president and chief government officer, mentioned in a press release.

The orchestra’s administration has been making an attempt to get the musicians to comply with a brand new contract that may reduce their variety of paid weeks of labor to 40, from the present 52. Orchestra leaders have mentioned that such a reduce is required to maintain the orchestra afloat after years of deficits and problem elevating cash in Baltimore, a struggling metropolis.

This spring, Maryland state lawmakers permitted $3.2 million in support to assist the troubled orchestra get by the following two years, however Gov. Larry Hogan has indicated that he’ll “most likely not” launch the cash, The Baltimore Solar reported. That sophisticated the orchestra’s plans to take out a short-term mortgage till the state support materialized. A number of weeks in the past, the orchestra’s administration abruptly canceled a sequence of summer season concert events that it had introduced earlier within the spring.

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Going part-time would successfully dislodge the ensemble from the highest tier of American orchestras, which have year-round contracts for his or her musicians. However as attendance has waned at many orchestras, some have begun to query if there’s enough demand from ticket consumers to justify 52-week seasons — and contracts.

Musicians in Baltimore already earn lower than a lot of their friends at year-round orchestras. Their base pay is at present just below $83,000, in line with the musicians, which is low for a 52-week orchestra. On the different finish of the spectrum, the much-wealthier San Francisco Symphony not too long ago introduced a brand new contract that may finally increase the annual base pay of its musicians to $185,640. (The price of dwelling in San Francisco is, in fact, far greater than in Baltimore.)

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The Baltimore gamers mentioned {that a} main reduce in performing weeks — and subsequently pay — would imperil the standard of the orchestra by making it tough to draw and retain high musicians.

“Historical past has taught the Baltimore Symphony musicians that concessions don’t resolve the issues of power mismanagement,” the gamers mentioned in a press release, including that the musicians had commonly compromised with the administration lately.

These have been tough occasions for a lot of American orchestras, which have grown ever extra reliant on donations and the funding earnings from their endowment funds. This 12 months the gamers of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra went on strike to withstand modifications to their pension plan, which they wound up accepting; final fall, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s orchestra held a quick strike earlier than agreeing to a contract that assured them fewer weeks of labor.

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