NEW YORK, NY – June 17, 2019 – Last night, Baltimore Symphony management abruptly decided to lock out the orchestra, citing lack of funds to continue a regular concert schedule. Earlier, management had promised that they would not lock out the musicians during the negotiation process. The former contract expired in January and the new CBA was being negotiated.
The Baltimore Symphony has been attempting to secure funding from the State of Maryland, but the Governor will not release the funds, stating that the Symphony has been financially mismanaged. The financial pressures of the Baltimore Symphony are not new or unique. What is different here is the obtuseness and incompetence of its management. For example, in prior years, musicians took salary cuts, while management did not take similar cuts in their compensation. Meanwhile, charitable contributions have withered as major donors see the incompetence like everyone else.
In the end, musicians pay the heaviest price of anyone. We find it unacceptable that musicians, who do their jobs with the utmost professionalism, fall victim to the unprofessionalism of the orchestra’s managers. Perhaps it’s time the board of trustees get new managers.