San Antonio Symphony board proposes cutting number of musicians by nearly half

Posted on: September 17, 2021

“After an initial contract proposal that would reduce musicians’ pay by 50%, the San Antonio Symphony is seeking to drastically reduce the size of the orchestra,” writes Nicholas Frank in Tuesday’s (9/14) San Antonio Report (TX). “Mary Ellen Goree, principal second violinist and negotiating committee member representing the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony, said Symphony management is proposing to slash the size of the orchestra from 71 full-time musicians to 42. She characterized the proposal as the Symphony board’s ‘last, best, and final offer’ of ongoing negotiations for the final year of the 2019-2022 contract. Since 2017, the San Antonio Symphony (SAS) has seen its near demise followed by resurrection…. [Board Chair] Kathleen Weir Vale … confirmed the proposal Tuesday, saying in a prepared statement that the board is unanimous ‘in its belief that the Symphony live within its means.’… The orchestra weathered the pandemic with the help of federal funding to continue paying the salaries of musicians and staff, and the organization has emerged from the pandemic ‘in the black,’ she stated…. The cuts proposed by the Symphony Society come despite the organization’s positive cash flow during the pandemic and an increase in its donor base.”