Atlanta cancels til November

Almost every word in this press release is an approximation of the truth.  The ASO has locked out its musicians.

atlanta musicians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 22, 2014
Contacts: Holly Hanchey
(404) 733-4998, holly.hanchey@woodruffcenter.org
Sean Ward
(404) 733-4842, sean.ward@woodruffcenter.org
ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
TO CANCEL ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS
THROUGH NOVEMBER 8, 2014

Concerts Cancelled Due To Ongoing Labor Negotiations
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) today announced the cancellation of its orchestral concerts
through November 8, 2014, including the opening performance of the 2014-15 season on September
25, due to negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

If an agreement is reached between ASO management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Players’ Association (ASOPA) before November 8, the classical season will be re-launched as soon
as possible. The complete list of cancelled concerts can be found online at
http://atlantasymphony.org/1415postponed.

The contract between ASO management and ASOPA expired on September 6, 2014 without
agreement on terms of a new contract.

Ticketholders for affected concerts are encouraged to hold tickets until a new agreement is reached.
Details on ticket exchanges and refund policies are available at here.

“We’ve made this decision with a great deal of reluctance,” said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
President & CEO Stanley E. Romanstein, Ph.D. “Cancelling concerts is the last thing any of us wants
to do, but out of respect for our patrons and the many people who play a role in producing the
concerts we all enjoy, we feel we have no other choice.”

The ASO has suffered annual operating deficits for 12 consecutive years, including a $2 million
deficit in the recently completed 2014 fiscal year. The most recent collective bargaining agreement
proposal from the musicians would add another $2 – $2.5 million to these deficits.

“These are the unfortunate economic realities we face. If we are to have a strong future, we must
take care of our business now to make sure we stay in business,” said Dr. Romanstein. “At the end of
the day, we all want the same thing: an artistically vibrant and financially stable ASO that serves this
community for years to come. I’m confident that we’ll get there, and I’m immensely grateful for the
continued support of the community.”
Current details and updates about the negotiations can be found on the ASO website:
atlantasymphony.org/2014musiciantalks.

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  • Please be clear that the decision to cancel was not what the musicians wanted. ASO management has refused to return to the bargaining table, nor would they consider the “talk and play” option that the musicians proposed. It would seem to me that Virginia Hepner, CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, would be more interested in seeing that the season began on time than she is in union busting.

    If the books are out of balance, I suggest someone ask her why she donated $1.9 million from the sale of the 14th Street Playhouse to an outside entity rather than paying down the ASO deficit. I’d also ask why Stanley Romanstein, President and CEO of the ASO felt that it was right to accept over $100,000 in bonuses since the last lock-out in 2012.

      • NYMike, may I recommend that you try commenting on the Woodruff Arts Center Facebook page. (Well, for what it’s worth…I was banned this morning for posting a link to “How You Can Help The Musicians”).
        The WAC is the parent organization for the Atlanta Symphony, and it is likely that it’s the WAC board of directors and CEO Virginia Hepner who are behind the lockout, not so much the ASO board.

  • Maybe those economic brainiacs should have not let the deficits go on for 12 years but instead actually dealt with the problem. It’s a little suspect that they want to pull the plug NOW.

  • She’s a banker. 25 years at Wachovia. While the word “banker” ought to inspire trust and confidence, it seems that the Richard Davises and Jon Campbells and Virginia Hepners of the business world look at the arts from a pinstriped perspective.
    “Sustainability” is not a virtue. It does not inspire a fourth-grader. It does not win Grammy awards. It does not belong anywhere near the mission statement or philosophy of existence of an arts organization, any more than “We think all the plumbing and electricity in our building should work efficiently” or “We promise to pay our bills on time.” Those things are simply an obvious fact of living in the real world, and no one…NO ONE…knows the facts better than the musicians do.

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