Unable to open up the doors of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for concerts, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is taking its performances online.
Earlier today, the orchestra launched BSO OffStage, a collection of videos and podcasts that feature recital performances by the orchestra’s musicians, archival footage, masterclasses, interviews and discussions of classical works by some of the masters.
Earlier this year, the Maryland Transit Administration installed a piano at the Charles Center Metro station with the invitation: “Play us a song. I’m the piano, man.” According to a Sun story from this month, few people have been willing to take that offer.
So the Baltimore Symphony Musicians, still locked out of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, will give the piano some use with a series of concerts, starting today at 4:15 p.m.
A group of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra donors and several members of the board of directors stepped up to fund healthcare and dental benefits for musicians as they remain locked out for the summer, the orchestra announced today.
It appears the labor battle between the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its musicians is no closer to reaching a resolution.
Baltimore Symphony Musicians, a group representing the orchestra’s players, blasted management this afternoon for keeping its “draconian” demands to cut the concert schedule by 20 percent during a federally mediated bargaining session today.
With a lockout taking effect earlier this week, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians are facing a paycheck-less summer as they remain in a deadlock with management over proposed schedule reductions.
A supporter has stepped in to start a meal fund for the players, raising more than $2,300 on GoFundMe in one day. Organizer Tee Mitchell wrote she wanted to support the musicians as they protest and fight “to raise awareness of the egregious management problems that led to this.”
As of 8 a.m. this morning, nearly 2,000 people have sent emails to Gov. Larry Hogan requesting that he release $3.2 million earmarked for the financially struggling Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, according to the musicians.
Percussionist Brian Prechtl, co-chair of the Baltimore Symphony Musicians players’ committee, said 1,813 emails have been sent to the governor since the call for support went out late Friday–1,339 of which came from Maryland representing, Prechtl noted, all six of the state’s Congressional districts.
“It is important that he hears each and every Marylander’s voice if we are to preserve our Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for generations to come,” the committee’s updated plea said on Sunday.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced today the ensemble is cancelling concerts on its summer calendar, reaffirming the position of management that the orchestra must reduce the number of performances in order to sustain itself.
The New Music Festival, a showcase of work by modern women composers scheduled to start June 19, marks the first of the cancellations. In all, five concerts have been crossed off the calendar, including a performance with Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr. and the orchestra’s Star-Spangled Spectacular at Oregon Ridge on July 3.
A series of performances accompanying the film “West Side Story,” on June 13-16, will be the last concerts before the start of a new season in the fall.
This is just the beginning, the first blip on a slippery slope whose ending is all too foreseeable.
On Nov. 1, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s board of directors announced its intention to cut the musicians’ employment schedule from 52 weeks to 40, and their salaries by 17 percent. And if that were to happen, it could mark the end of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as any kind of orchestra worth listening to–and possibly, the beginning of the end for other great orchestras in mid-size cities.
With their contract expiring at midnight last night, musicians in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra this morning condemned management for refusing to offer an extension and back off proposals to cut the group’s schedule from 52 weeks to 40 weeks.