Elvis Costello refuses to cross Pittsburgh picket line

Elvis Costello refuses to cross Pittsburgh picket line


norman lebrecht

October 20, 2016

The British pop musician has cancelled his Heinz Hall gig with this message:

I regret to inform you that our ‘Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers’ concert at Heinz Hall cannot go ahead, as I am unwilling to cross an AFofM picket line during the current strike by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

I hope that the dispute will soon be settled honorably and amicably and that The Imposters and I will have the opportunity to perform at Heinz Hall before too long.

We send our apologies to ticket holders and all our friends in Pittsburgh with thanks for your understanding and support of live music wherever it is heard. Respectfully. Elvis Costello

The hall’s losses are mounting as a result of multiple cancellations.



  • Dennis says:

    So the use of a hall, which hosts many events by a variety of performers, is to be held hostage to the protests of members of one of the frequent performers in said hall, the Pittsburgh Symphony, whose members make on average $107,000 per year (which far exceeds the average national per capita income)?

    • Amy Adams says:

      Yes, Dennis. That’s the point of a strike.

      Now, are you good with a 15% salary cut at your place of work? Are you fine with management having misleading answers, vague answers or no answers to your questions about the financial health of your workplace?
      On top of it, are you okay with perfect strangers questioning your personal salary?
      And did you audition competitively for your job against the nation’s best?

      • Dennis says:

        If they want to walk off their jobs that’s their problem. Then the symphony just needs to hire new musicians. The symphony is struggling and they are lucky to have jobs at all. Cushy ones that pay well over the national per capita income. I’m sure there are many skilled musicians who would love to take their place.

    • William E Ford says:

      The hall is owned by the stmphony association, so its fairgame for Costello’action. And so what about the average salary?

    • MacroV says:

      It’s also possible that the hall’s unionized stagehands – and maybe the front-of-house personnel – are also honoring the strike, so probably wouldn’t work with other performers. And if Costello is appearing under the PSO’s auspices, it’s definitely fair game.

    • paukenschlager oder timbalist says:

      You are not serious……..are you?

    • Ethelred The Unready says:

      I just love quotes such as these, ha ha. Could you please provide the evidence plus the source you got this information from, plus a breakdown, since you describe the 107,000 salary as “average”? Much appreciated

  • Steve says:

    Of course. That’s how an economic strike works.

  • Gary says:

    I suddenly have respect for Elvis Costello.

    • V.Lind says:

      Elvis Costello has always been respect-worthy. Whether his music is a kind you care for or not (it’s not really my cup of tea), he IS a real musician. As is his wife, from whose music I tend to feel equally removed. Both have always treated others with respect. Nothing surprising about this.

      So I guess they can forget booking Diana any time soon either.

  • Gerald Martin says:

    A rather gracious cancellation statement, I think.