Orchestras’ financial success often intertwined with fortunes of local community

Posted on: October 3, 2016

“The orchestra world’s Black Friday began on Sept. 30 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra going on strike in the morning and ended across Pennsylvania that evening with the Philadelphia Orchestra walking out,” writes Michael Cooper in Saturday’s (9/1) New York Times. “The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra musicians … were already on strike.… But three strikes should not be taken to mean that classical music is out. While orchestras across the country face endemic challenges … each ensemble has its own obstacles, and its fortunes are often closely tied to its community’s. That is why some orchestras, including the mighty Los Angeles Philharmonic and the small Grand Rapids Symphony … are able to thrive while others struggle.” Veteran orchestra executive Thomas W. Morris said “that while the unions representing musicians tend to look at what their peers are paid at comparable orchestras across the country, management typically focuses on what it thinks the local area can support.… But it has not all been doom and gloom in the orchestra world this year. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, which had a lockout four years ago, agreed to a contract with raises this spring. The Minnesota Orchestra … has new labor peace and new board leadership, and went on tour to Europe this summer. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra … is adding musicians to its roster.”

Posted October 3, 2016