Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Orchestral Woes and Returns

In keeping with the spirit of "News from the Front," this post will update situations that have been discussed in class rather than analyze or discuss a new issue.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra continues to be locked out. All concerts are cancelled through at least November 8th.  While the situation is far from static, it seems overly optimistic to identify the trajectory as being angled towards a speedy resolution. 

Between the last blog entry on this topic and this one, the orchestra's president has resigned. This vacuum effectively forces the orchestra to negotiate with the Woodruff Arts Center, which is currently headed by Douglas Hertz, a man whom the orchestra members feel is willing to "break the backs of employees to achieve further financial concessions."

Whether this portrayal is accurate or not remains to be seen, but the issuing of such a strong statement indicates that the orchestra does not feel it is dealing with a sympathetic negotiating partner.  I fear that this statement means that the orchestra members are digging in for what might be a protracted fight. The mayor of Atlanta and other local organizations have offered support, and a federal mediator is coming in.  However, this doesn't change the fundamental fact: both the Woodruff Arts Center and the orchestra are in very defensive public positions, and don't appear willing to yield any ground.  The Woodruff Arts Center keeps up a steady drumbeat of budgetary shortfall information, while the orchestra continues to appeal for artistic integrity.

In more encouraging news, the Minnesota Orchestra is firmly back on the stage and armed with a contract, which will hopefully allow for the completion of the first full season in 3 years.  The 111th season kicked off with Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony last week.

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