Orchestra Digest: October 3

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This week: Atlanta lockout reaches week 4; Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony hires a new executive director, and Calgary Phil celebrates their retiring President/CEO.

Atlanta lockout news

The Atlanta Symphony has been locked out since Sept. 6, and concerts through Nov. 8th have been cancelled, ArtsATL reported. ASO board member Ron Antinori resigned and spoke out in protest against the lockout and the decision to cancel concerts.

Music Director Robert Spano also spoke out against the lockout, lamenting that “our brilliant and creative musicians, who need to be intimately involved in the creation of our path to the future, have been asked to leave the building — and Atlanta is left with a deafening silence.” The New York Times reports on Spano's public statements in support of musicians.

This week ASO President and CEO Stanley Romanstein resigned, saying in a statement that his leadership "would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO's musicians," the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. His interim replacement is Terry Neal, a retired Coca Cola executive and current ASO board member.
Aspen Festival President and CEO Alan Fletcher wrote a commentary for the Huffington Post, titled "Atlanta Symphony Lockout is Enforced Silence." Fletcher argues that the tactic of locking out musicians is "wrongheaded", and that it doesn't work.
Atlanta Symphony musicians have begun their own series of free public concerts, beginning last weekend. ArtsATL previewed the first concert, last weekend at Kennesaw State University's Bailey Performance Center.
Atlanta Symphony musicians have received many donations from other orchestras across the US and Canada. There is also a petition online to end the lockout, launched by Atlanta community members.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: October 3

Orchestra Digest: September 19

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This week: Nasty turns in the Atlanta Symphony lockout, a major court ruling in BC, and season openers in Windsor and Victoria.

Latest reports from Atlanta

With the Atlanta Symphony lockout in its second week, negotiations are at a standstill, ArtsATL reports. Management is asking for final say in determining the size of the orchestra, a proposal musicians and labour advocates argue "makes the contract meaningless." The Atlanta Journal Constitution also reports on the orchestral size debate, which has become a central issue.  

The latest skirmish came in the ASO management's cancellation of Atlanta Youth Symphony auditions - which it unjustly blamed on the AFM, the blog Mask of the Flower Prince argues.

The ASO lockout matters to orchestras throughout the US and beyond, The Guardian's Tom Service writes. Service spoke to principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles, who speaks passionately against the management-imposed lockout: "It's a one-sided attempt to force the orchestra to its collective knees."

Orchestras across the US have responded to ICSOM's Call to Action: including the musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra and the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the Detroit, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Utah, Fort Worth, Hawaii, Charlotte, and Milwaukee Symphonies, and many others.

To follow the latest news on the lockout, please visit (and Like) the Atlanta Symphony Musicians Facebook page; follow them on Twitter; or visit their website to donate. This Met Opera Orchestra post has several more suggestions to register your support.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 19

Orchestra Digest: September 12

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This week: Musicians locked out in Atlanta, and orchestra news from SF, NYC, and Columbus.

Déjà vu in Atlanta

The Atlanta Symphony has been locked out since last weekend, and on Wednesday the ICSOM Governing Board issued a Call to Action for support of the locked out musicians. The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra quickly responded with a lead donation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered the lead-up to the September 6 deadline, including a "last, best, and final offer" from management which players rejected, and a leaked letter by ASO President Stanley Romanstein.

Romanstein's own compensation package came under fire from observers, including blogger Emily Hogstad (Song of the Lark). Arts law specialist Kevin Case posted an analysis of the last, best, and final offer showing glaring problems in health coverage and orchestra complement.

On Sunday, ArtsATL covered the onset of the lockout, as the two sides' offers remained far apart. Bitterness lingers from the last lockout in 2012, when musicians accepted $14K in salary cuts and a reduction from a 52 to 42 week season.

Read more: Orchestra Digest: September 12

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