Cleveland reminds Atlanta of its tragic history

Cleveland reminds Atlanta of its tragic history


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2014

Musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra, on tour in Vienna, have sent a moving message to the wreckers of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra:

woodruff arts center

To: Stanley Romanstein and The Woodruff Arts Center Board
From: The Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra

The Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra give their full support to our colleagues of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and condemn the deplorable tactics of ASO CEO Stanley Romanstein and the board of the Woodruff Arts Center.

Born of the tragic airplane crash in 1962 at Orly Airport in Paris, France when 106 of Atlanta’s arts and community leaders perished, the Woodruff Arts Center (originally named Memorial Arts Center) supported and nourished a semi-professional orchestra until it became one of our nation’s most recorded and acclaimed musical groups. Mr. Romanstein and the Board of the Woodruff Arts Center dishonor those whose perished on that plane and all of the thousands of Atlantans that over the past fifty years have supported symphonic music performed at the highest level.

Mr. Romanstein and the Woodruff Arts Center Board, the musicians of the ASO made a significant sacrifice two years ago so that the music could continue, as well as giving you the time to put a funding plan in place. We view your tactics as an excuse to cover up your failure to uphold your part of the bargain, which has reflected negatively on the city of Atlanta. It is time to reward the musicians with a contract they deserve, and end this unethical and deplorable lockout.

Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra


  • Pamela Brown says:

    This is a devastating indictment of Mr. Romanstein and his tactics. But will he listen? And will those who gave him his job and are enabling him now have the courage to acknowledge the historical mandate presented here?

    • Amy says:

      Boy. “Mandate” must be the word of the day. It figures significantly in the subject of Scott Chamberlain’s blog post today about Atlanta’s emails to youth symphony families (I linked to it elsewhere in this comment thread.) Also, a commenter there under the name “Christine Pie” really honed in on the same word: mandate, mandated…maybe you’re already familiar with her writing, though.

      Here’s Scott’s response to Christine, on the story “A Disgusting New Low”:
      Christine (et al), one of the curiosities that occurred during the Minnesota Orchestra lockout was that blogs like this one attracted the attention of a person (or persons) who would post argumentative messages under a series of aliases. I see that one of these personalities has weighed in on a post over on Slipped Disc that referenced my site, and there have been other indications that this person (or persons) has returned. Christine, your email seems to link to a Facebook site that was just created, and the IP address indicates that you hail from the same area that these phantom messages originated from. I allowed your first comment, but my patience for this behavior is quite nearly zero. Unless you can furnish further proof of identity, I will pre-emptively remove all further messages. Thank you.

  • Interesting letter from the Cleveland Orchestra to Dr. Stanley Romanstein. The Woodruff Arts Center started as the “Memorial Arts Center” to honor Atlanta’s arts patrons killed in a plane crash. We seem to have lost our way.

  • Amy says:

    Have a look at Scott Chamberlain’s post on the ASO’s communication to Atlanta Youth Orchestra families. It seems that management does not particularly care about the relationships of the community and its players (talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face)…As long as Blame For the Lockout Is Squarely Placed On The Shoulders …of the LOCKED-OUT.

  • harold braun says:

    It´s high time to give Romanstein a kick in the ass!

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    The ASO musicians need to make clear to the community that they will do what is necessary to keep honoring those perished in the plane crash: by resigning en masse and constitute themselves as a new independent performing arts organization. I am sure they will have a vast multitude if supporters on their side. Let the Woodruff board and ED clean up the mess they have created by employing the incompetence they devoted themselves to. Even their cleaning up the mess will be a mess, but no one will care. The musicians need to get out of there. Fast.

    • Amy says:

      No, ….Edgar. (?)

      The lockout is what needs to be ended, fast. The musicians do not need to take on every battle right now, which is what “getting out of there. Fast” would be. They need a contract, and health insurance, and a season. They need to make their house payments. Your fantasy road doesn’t lead anywhere helpful at the moment.
      (No idea who you’re referring to with the acronym ED.)

      • sdReader says:

        Executive director?

        Amy, I do think Edgar (at least) is not another alias for that woman.

        • Amy says:

          SDReader, thanks. You’ve responded on behalf of Edgar several times.
          Got any particular reason for thinking that “Edgar (at least) is not another alias for that woman”…?
          (This is largely a rhetorical exercise. I have no idea who you are, SDReader, but I’m the same human being from Oregon who signs in under a real name.)
          And my above comment about the “President and CEO” refers to Stanley. He’s not the, um, ED.

  • william osborne says:

    I’m glad to see the Cleveland Orchestra supporting the Atlanta Symphony, but I can’t help but see an ironic hypocrisy, since Cleveland serves as a scab orchestra in Miami. The Florida Symphony’s Board Chairman, Daniel Lewis, a native of Cleveland, made unprecedented donations to the Cleveland Orchestra while he was still the Chairman of the Florida Symphony. Then in 2003, the Board of the Florida Symphony bankrupted the orchestra and turned the donor base toward a permeant residency in Miami by the Cleveland Orchestra. By siphoning off the donor base, they prevented the Florida Symphony from being able to reform. This is pure scab activity.

    The grand statement by Cleveland thus looks a lot like a face saving measure more than a genuine concern. If they want to stand by their solidarity with colleagues, they should withdraw from Miami and help the musicians there reform the Florida Symphony. I suspect, however, that Cleveland will find it more to their interests to line their pockets with the Florida Symphony’s donor base.

  • Amy says:

    Romanstein is the “President and CEO”, according to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.