Baltimore Symphony musicians sign four-month contract extension, amid discussions of shorter future seasons

Posted on: November 2, 2018

Musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, “who had been playing without a contract since Sept. 9, agreed on Nov. 1 to a four-month extension of the previous collective bargaining agreement,” writes Tim Smith in Friday’s (11/2) Baltimore Sun. “They did so two days after receiving an offer from management [that] proposed reducing the orchestra’s current status as a 52-week ensemble … to one with a 40-week season. The BSO has been a 52-week orchestra for 35 years. A reduction to 40 weeks would entail a decrease in base salaries for musicians and would effectively eliminate a summer season. ‘It was a total shock,’ said violinist Greg Mulligan, co-chair of the players’ committee…. In a statement released late on Nov. 1, the musicians said that management ‘is openly calling for conversion … from a full-time, world-class symphony orchestra into a part-time regional orchestra.’ BSO management was unavailable for comment, but the marketing and communications department released a statement saying that there have been ‘$16 million in losses over the past ten years’ and that ‘a careful analysis of our current financial situation’ has led to the conclusion that it is ‘not feasible to maintain our current business model as a 52-week orchestra.’ ”

Posted November 2, 2018