Musicians give up 3 weeks wages in desperate US orch

The plight of the San Antonio Symphony has deepened to the point where the musicians have agreed to waive three weeks’ wages to keep the band alive.

They will get paid for 27 weeks this season instead of the contracted 30.

Basic pay in the orchestra is $1,100 a week.

Details here. The slogan seems ill-judged.

san antonio symphony

UPDATE: A response from Sarah Silver, Assistant Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony:

“The Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony have agreed to a potential furlough of 3 weeks of the 2016/17 season in order to help retire accumulated debt. If the debt is retired before next season then no furloughs will occur.  Although the orchestra has indeed had many challenges over the past several decades, it thrives as the cultural heart of the city of San Antonio. Furthermore, the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony fervently believe that this great city can and will support us. We have recently made many exciting strides, including our move into the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The unfortunate slogan, “Let Yourself Go,” is one of years past. All one needs to do is go to the Tobin Center and hear us play. You’ll soon agree that we are here to stay!”

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • I feel very badly for the musicians but the fact is that the San Antonio Symphony has had financial problems for decades. The city of San Antonio simply can NOT support a $7 million orchestra with 70+ full-time musicians. It never could.

    Furthermore, the Symphony has had something like 6 or 7 executive directors in the past 15 years which says a lot about the “culture” of the organization.

    • So, just to be clear:
      The current shortfall is some pitiful amount like $350,000.

      The newly built Tobin Center was $203 million.
      The city of San Antonio has a $2.4 billion city budget.
      (By the way, it spends $10 million per year on sidewalk maintenance)

      San Antonio hosts huge companies like: H-E-B, USAA, Cullen / Frost Bankers, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, Rackspace, Toyota Motoring Manufacturing, Clear Channel Communications, Inc., Southwest Research Institute Applied Research, Valero Energy, Oil Refiner & Gasoline Mktg., Harland Clarke, KCI Medical Supplies, Tesoro, HVHC, Security Service Federal Credit Union, SWBC, NuStar Energy, etc.

      Now, SAS really only needs to raise about half of their budget from donations (3.5 – 4 million). The other half is ticket sales. It’s a ridiculous assertion that San Antonio isn’t capable of supporting its extremely affordable symphony.

  • Very sorry to read about the orchestra’s problems. Way back in the late 1960s, one of my most prized recordings was the Mercury Living Presence LP with Victor Allesandro conducting the orchestra in two Rodrigo guitar concertos played by the Romero’s. Marvelous sound and not many Texas orchestras had recording contracts. (Well, maybe Houston and Dallas.)

  • Here is a list of the Symphony’s business supporters from their website:

    http://sasymphony.org/donations-support/corporate-giving/business-partner-program/

    I lived in San Antonio for 3 years and virtually none of the companies you list gave a dime to the Symphony. Certainly not Clear Channel, USAA or Tesoro!!

    You say that their current shortfall is “some pitiful amount like $350,000” but they finished FY2010-2011 in the RED by $775,342; FY 2011-2012 in the RED by $862,290; FY 2013-2014 in the RED by $332,438. (Interestingly, they finished 2012-2013 in the black by more than $1 million. How did that happen?) I don’t have documents for 2014-2015.

    Perhaps Matt is unfamiliar with the term “accumulated deficit?”

    • “You say that their current shortfall is “some pitiful amount like $350,000” but they finished FY2010-2011 in the RED by $775,342; FY 2011-2012 in the RED by $862,290; FY 2013-2014 in the RED by $332,438”

      First of all, it sounds as if the trend is in the right direction. Secondly, to say that “The city of San Antonio simply can NOT support a $7 million orchestra with 70+ full-time musicians. It never could” is simply not true. It has supported such an orchestra for a very long time.

      I don’t know much about the San Antonio Symphony, but this looks far more like an issue of board/management performance than it does one of the orchestra being wrong-sized for the community.

  • >