At Springfield Symphony, contract negotiations continue; musicians plan rally on Saturday

Posted on: June 11, 2021

“The Springfield Symphony Orchestra board and its musicians are waging a public debate over union contracts, including the length of the upcoming season,” reports Jill Kaufman in a Friday (6/11) WBUR/New England Public Media report. “The SSO, touted as Massachusetts’ largest symphony outside Boston, faces many financial challenges, according to its board. And they say the problems existed well before the pandemic. The SSO hasn’t played together since before March 2020. This year in April, its executive director resigned. And at the end of May, the contract of longtime maestro Kevin Rhodes wrapped up…. The musicians are also without a contract. They’ve been in negotiations with the SSO board since last year. The most recent offer from the board came last week. It’s a one-year contract for a season that begins in December, with about half the usual number of concerts…. The offer from the SSO does include a 4% pay raise … but it’s based on far fewer concerts. SSO musicians are taking their fight to the steps on Symphony Hall … on Saturday…. It’s billed as a rally for live classical music in Springfield. And next week, contract negotiations continue.”