One of the rituals of the US concert season is the nerve-biting tension as to whether the Chicago Symphony will play, or stay home. The musicians’ contract expires in the week of the opening concert. Negotiations are always last minute.
As things stand, the players have agreed to rehearse the opening concert with Riccardo Muti, despite the contract ending last Sunday. The opening concert is tomorrow (Thursday).
The orchestra has a new president, Jeff Alexander (pictured), and he is being put to the test.
Who blinks? We’ll know tomorrow.
Either way, the two sides need to change the negotiation mechanism. It ain’t easy to play with nails bitten down to the knuckle.
UPDATE: Here’s the official statement:
Since early July, the Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, represented by the Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208 A.F.M., and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association have been engaged in negotiations over a successor agreement to the labor contract expiring at midnight on September 13, 2015. Although the parties were unable to reach an agreement before the contract expired, negotiations are ongoing. The parties are scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, September 15.
There will be no further comment at this time.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association
Chicago Federation of Musicians & CSO Members’ Negotiating Committee