Baltimore Symphony cancels summer season, renews proposal to cut season to 40 weeks

Posted on: May 31, 2019

“Citing deep fiscal problems, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra abruptly canceled its summer concert series Thursday—just weeks after announcing it—and said it would move to shrink its season from 52 weeks to 40 weeks, cutting musicians’ pay and vacation time,” write Luke Broadwater and Mary Carole McCauley in Thursday’s (5/30) Baltimore Sun. “The musicians … first heard of [President and CEO Peter] Kjome’s plans at 1 p.m. Thursday, an hour after they had completed their final rehearsal for a scheduled concert that night…. The bombshell announcement came just days after Gov. Larry Hogan allowed a measure to become law …  designed to fend off the shortened season … [awarding] the organization an additional $3.2 million in state funding for the next two fiscal years…. Even so, Kjome said, the emergency funding is not enough to stem the orchestra’s fiscal losses…. The orchestra is projected to barely make payroll in July and August, according to cash forecasts…. Because contract negotiations with the musicians’ union are continuing … it was unclear immediately whether BSO management could unilaterally shorten the season…. The Players’ Committee will discuss the situation with its attorney. The BSO musicians have been playing without a contract, which expired in January.”

Posted May 31, 2019

In photo: At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert on Thursday, May 30, Brian Prechtl, co-chairman of the Baltimore Symphony Musicians’ Players Committee, informed the audience that the musicians have been told they will not be paid after June 16. Music Director Marin Alsop looked on from the podium, and later stated that she hopes the situation can be resolved. Photo: Baltimore Sun.