Cleveland Orchestra musicians end strike, agree on contract

Posted on: January 19, 2010

Tuesday (1/19) on the New York Times online, Daniel J. Wakin reports the end of a one-day musicians strike at the Cleveland Orchestra. “Orchestra members struck on Monday, the first such work stoppage here in 30 years. Terms of the agreement between the orchestra’s musicians and the board were not immediately released. The strike had forced the cancellation of most of the activities scheduled for a two-day teaching and concert trip to Indiana University. It had also threatened a lucrative residency in Miami, but that visit now appears likely. Still, the underlying issue remains of how much elite orchestras can afford to pay their exquisitely trained musical artists as the economics of classical music continue to shift. … According to numbers provided by management, the orchestra has been operating at large deficits for nearly a decade, averaging around $4 million for the last seven seasons with a budget now at $42.3 million. It has plugged the holes by using most of the money it had set aside to pay off $28 million in bonds when they come due in 2028 and by raising $18 million in emergency funds—which run out this season. … Yet the orchestra remains undiminished artistically. Last Thursday’s concert gave ample evidence. The music director, Franz Welser-Möst, conducted impeccable accounts of works by Strauss, Adès and Brahms.”

Posted January 19, 2010