Philadelphia Orchestra Extends Talks

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by dizforprez, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    Philadelphia Orchestra Extends Talks

    Published: October 21, 2004

    Seeking to resolve a labor dispute at his city's symphony orchestra hours before a contract deadline, Mayor John F. Street of Philadelphia summoned musicians and management to his office yesterday and won a 10-day extension from them.

    The musicians had voted to authorize a strike a month ago, when the contract formally expired, but agreed with management to keep talking until 12:01 a.m. today. With little progress made, Mayor Street called the parties in and appealed for a settlement.

    They agreed to another extension, until Oct. 30, city and Philadelphia Orchestra officials said, during an hourlong meeting at City Hall. They planned to meet again with the mayor before the end of the week, said Stephanie Naidoff, the city's commerce director.

    "I think we're all glad that we're continuing negotiations and moving forward," said Katherine Blodgett, an orchestra spokeswoman.

    The head of the musicians' committee, John Koen, did not immediately respond to a phone message. Both sides have agreed not to discuss the negotiations with the news media.

    Mayor Street assigned Ms. Naidoff, who is also his adviser on arts and culture, to help bring the sides together.

    Orchestra management says it is facing a $4.2 million deficit, and had asked the musicians to agree to a reduction in the size of the orchestra or a pay cut or a combination of both. It also wanted to change the pension system in a way the musicians say would reduce benefits.

    The musicians countered that cuts in personnel or pay would undermine the quality of one of the world's great orchestras. They say they have offered concessions like benefit concerts to help reduce the deficit.

    The orchestra, by originally extending its contract for a month, put off the cancellation of the celebrity-populated opening of Carnegie Hall on Oct. 6. Yesterday, the immediate threat had been to a series of concerts starting tonight. On the program was Sibelius's Symphony No. 5 and the world premiere of Richard Danielpour's "Songs of Solitude."

    The other piece was Copland's "Quiet City," risking the nickname, under the circumstances, Quiet Orchestra.

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  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    I sure wonder about my profession sometimes... It's so dissapointing. Doesn't anyone care about us musicians? Can you imagine a world with robotic/simulated orchestras because they are cheaper/etc.... So sad.

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