Harris Theatre pit band switch angers Chicago musicians

Posted on: June 15, 2010

In Monday’s (6/14) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein reports, “A recent decision by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance to employ a student orchestra instead of professional musicians to accompany the upcoming run of performances by the Mark Morris Dance Group has struck a sour chord with Chicago’s powerful musicians union. ‘Destructive and hurtful to the professional musicians and the marketplace of Chicago’ is how Gary Matts, president of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, characterizes the Harris Theater’s electing to replace the Chicago Sinfonietta with the Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra for the Chicago premiere of Morris’ ‘Romeo and Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare,’ Feb. 25-27 at the theater in Millennium Park. … Michael Tiknis, president and managing director of the Harris Theater, said he explained to Matts and another union official at a meeting he called earlier this month that his decision to switch from union to non-union players wasn’t meant to take jobs away from local professionals. Rather, he said, it was to provide ‘a fabulous opportunity for what we think is a really fine (student) orchestra’ to partner with the Morris troupe while further extending the theater’s relationship with Roosevelt.”

Posted June 15, 2010