ATL Symphony: Call to Action!

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Dear Colleagues:
As you know, the Atlanta Symphony has been locked out since the start of their season, and all concerts have been cancelled until at least November 8. This has caused great hardship for the musicians there. It would seem that the same sort of union-busting practiced in Minnesota last year is being repeated.
We are writing to encourage your orchestra to send a donation to help our colleagues in Atlanta. The ASO musicians have a website at with details on how to donate. They also have a US 501(c)(3) [charitable status organization] called the ATL Symphony Musicians' Foundation. A donation there will assist the ASO musicians in producing concerts during the lockout. For more information go to
The musicians of the Toronto Symphony have already taken initiative and made a donation of $7500 US. In turn, OCSM has built up its own OCSM Relief Fund (ORF) over time, and the delegates have voted to allow the Executive broader discretionary use, so we are sending $1000 US from the ORF.
I can assure you that anyone who has gone through a work stoppage will tell you that every donation, no matter its size, is greatly appreciated by those in need, and the act of solidarity goes a long way to boosting the morale of the group, so your orchestra's contribution need not be large; even a "pass-the-hat" collection would be welcomed.
In addition, I would encourage every OCSM musician to visit the ATL musicians website and check out the "how you can help" page 
Those of you who are active users of Social Media, please consider rallying your orchestras, students, or other ensembles you may be affiliated with to show support through their Social Media campaigns. It may sound trivial to send a photo of support, or a Tweet, but the cumulative effect can and does make a difference. Support from around the world contributed to successful campaigns to save the San Diego Opera last year, and prevent a potentially catastrophic lockout at the Metropolitan Opera this summer. Let's let the world know this whole continent is united for the sake of art.
Yours in Solidarity,
The Executive Officers of OCSM
Robert Fraser, President (Victoria)
Matthew Heller, 1st Vice-President (Calgary)
Elizabeth Johnston, 2nd Vice-President (Canadian Opera Company)
Faith Scholfield, Secretary (Windsor)
Greg Sheldon, Treasurer (Windsor)

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

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