Friday, January 15, 2010

Orchestras going silent?

"A strike or other work stoppage is becoming increasingly likely" as musicians and management of the Cleveland Orchestra appear to have reached an impasse in negotiations on salary reductions, Zachary Lewis reports in The Plain Dealer:

There's also talk of a musicians' strike at the Seattle Symphony, whose executive director, Thomas Philion (who held the same position with the Richmond Symphony in the 1980s) is leaving:

Management of the Long Beach (CA) Symphony threatens curtailment of the current season and cancellation of the 2010-11 season if its musicians don't agree to wage concessions:

All three orchestras are running in the red: Cleveland's current operating deficit is about $2 million; Seattle's is about $1 million (with $4 million in accumulated debt). The president of the Long Beach Symphony Association says the orchestra expects to "run out of cash and exhaust our secured line of credit by the end of January."

They aren't alone: Big deficits are reported by the New York Philharmonic ($4.6 million, its highest ever), Detroit Symphony ($3.7 million) and Indianapolis Symphony ($2.8 million). The Philadelphia Orchestra projects a $7.5 million deficit this season, and the Baltimore Symphony expects to be deep in the red. The Honolulu Symphony has gone bankrupt. Many other orchestras, including Hampton Roads' Virginia Symphony, are under severe financial strain.

UPDATE 1: The Cleveland Orchestra's musicians have gone on strike, just as the orchestra was to have begun a residency at Indiana University. More from The Plain Dealer's Zachary Lewis:

UPDATE 2: The Cleveland Orchestra and its musicians settle on a new contract:

UPDATE 3: The Long Beach Symphony and its musicians come to terms: