Opinion: How the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra can emerge stronger

Posted on: June 19, 2019

On Tuesday (6/18), the Editorial Board of the Baltimore Sun published an opinion article about the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which is in the midst of a musician lockout and financial difficulties. “The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra board’s decision Sunday night to lock out the musicians … during their lengthy … contract dispute is unfortunate but not exactly unexpected. There have been … lockouts or strikes at major U.S. orchestras in the last decade, and the issues at play in Baltimore echo through all those other cities’ struggles…. The difficult economics of maintaining an orchestra in the 21st century, plus skyrocketing benefits costs, prompt management to seek concessions from musicians—often in the form of dropping the number of weeks musicians are paid, increasing cost sharing for health care and reducing the number of positions in the orchestra. Musicians are understandably angered by the prospect of seeing significant salary cuts—the 20 percent reduction Baltimore’s musicians would see in the latest management proposal is on the high side of what other orchestras have experienced … But other orchestras have emerged from these troubles stronger than they were before. The BSO can, too.” The article discusses similar recent situations at other orchestras, examining the roles of management, musicians, and music director.

Posted June 19, 2019