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The management of the Baltimore Symphony has cancelled all the orchestra's summer concerts, including their 4th of July concert, and apparently imposed a ~20 percent pay cut on the musicians (by shortening the contract from 52 weeks to 40 weeks). This was allegedly in response to the annual budget deficit that has averaged about $1.6 million over the past decade, but comes shortly after the Maryland state government allocated $3.2 million for the orchestra. This action was unexpected, as the orchestra had recently announced their summer schedule.

The Baltimore Symphony is clearly the best symphony orchestra in the DC-Maryland-Virginia region, so it would be extremely unfortunate if these actions cause some of the top musicians to leave. It also leads to the concern as to whether symphony orchestras can continue to flourish in cities that contain few headquarters of large corporations.

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Thank you for posting, YouOverThere. No doubt the problems lie deep, but it does sound like new management might be in order.

Some views

Letter to the editor, Washington Post

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The Meyerhoff family offered a $4 million challenge grant to raise funds for the endowment. We met with or called every large foundation in Baltimore and at least two dozen of Baltimore’s wealthiest citizens. We came away empty-handed. No one was interested in investing more than $250,000 in the BSO.

Letter to the editor, Baltimore Sun

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Mr. Bronstein calls for reasonable concessions from the musicians. The real truth here, and the only consistent solution BSO managements and boards have historically applied, is to ask the musicians who make the music on stage every week to bear the brunt of the organization’s financial struggles. Since 2002, BSO musicians have allowed 22 musician vacancies to go unfilled, which is 20% of our required personnel, and agreed to seven concessionary contracts, ceding millions of dollars back to BSO management..............

Article

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More than 70 Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan calling on him to release $1.6 million in funding they set aside through legislation for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

 

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