Just in: SanFran Symphony cancels Chicago concert

Just in: SanFran Symphony cancels Chicago concert


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2019

Message from the Chicago musicians:

While we are very sorry San Francisco Symphony’s concert tonight at Symphony Center has been cancelled, we are very grateful to have San Francisco Symphony Musicians joining us at the picket line. Tonight at 5pm, there will be a press conference as well as a collaborative performance by both of our brass sections! We hope you can come out and join us in giving them a warm welcome.



  • anon says:

    The orchestra has been going around town giving free concerts at exclusive venues (seating 200 with preregistration), which contradicts exactly what they are claiming for their strike:

    1) that their world renowned services worth a lot, in fact, the top of the American orchestra salary scale, and they deserve to be richly compensated for their non-pareil talent

    2) their talent is being undermined and undervalued by management (being paid $1,000 annually less than San Francisco musicians)

    So, of course, the answer to that is to give free concerts to those most interested (the first 200 to preregister) and most willing to pay (afterall, they support the musicians’ cause).

    Well, then on the other hand, the musicians do also claim that they are so singularly devoted to their art that they are incapable of making basic investment decisions about their pension. Yep, giving free concerts certainly proves that point!

  • Fred says:

    The smart money would be for the Orchestra (the actual players) to pursue an involuntary bankruptcy filing. Sack the Board, Management, and start over. Put up a GoFundMe page, I’ll put $200 in right now. Enough of this horse crap.

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      Fred, your $200 would go a long way to pay for about half a rehearsal for one musician in the CSO.

      I guess that lucky musician could do unaccompanied Bach for one hour in front of Orchestra Hall.

  • MacroV says:

    I understand why the SFSO concert would be cancelled, but I don’t understand why the SFSO management would fly the orchestra to Chicago so the musicians can march in a picket line, unless it’s somehow cheaper than flying them straight home or to their next destination. It’s not the SFSO management’s obligation to support the CSO strike.

    • CSO fan says:

      The SFO is in the middle of a 10 day tour, so they didn’t fly to Chicago merely to picket. Canceling hotels for a hundred or so people, as well as rebooking that many flights was probably going to be more expensive, if not impossible, with only one day notice.

      On the other hand, I’m sure CSO management knew the concert would be canceled much earlier than they let on – they broke off talks 2 weeks ago. Maybe it’s their way of shafting the SFO for paying their musicians too much.

  • Rgiarola says:

    By the way. SF Symph. Had just announced an extra concert conducted by MTT, on Sept 8th. It will be playing with rock band Metallica, 20 years after the first experience like that with same band and orchestra, but conducted by M. Kamem. The reason is that the first day was completely sold out for the entire Chase Arena in SF (around 10.000 tickets) in less than 30 minutes, even with expensive prices (Cheapers around 500 USD). Perhaps Chicago and other “bands” symphonical and not, can do similar pair of smart event per year, that would guarantee funds enough for musicians. After all they will need guts to play with a solist using a Les Paul pluged in a Marshall. LSO used to do it in the 70’s (Deep Purple, Rickwakemann etc)

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Oh, Chicago! What’s going on? How many fans have you lost over this stupid mess? Shame. Wrigley Field is looking nice this time of year, that’s where I’ll spend the dough.

  • EagleArts says:

    They flew all the way out there to picket? Is an insurance company paying for this somehow? I deeply support the musicians in Chicago, but this seems the height of fiscal irresponsibility on the part of the SFO, unless there is some sort of strike clause in their agreement with CSO.

  • fflambeau says:

    I’m afraid that Riccardo Muti is going to have to threaten to walk unless the management comes around. Like Osmo in Minnesota.

    Meanwhile, it’s good to see this solidarity.

  • Moishezmom says:

    They sounded amazing! There was a large supportive crowd there as well as many cars honking in support. Kudos to the Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony for standing in Solidarity with their colleagues!

  • Vanessa says:

    I hate to say this, but the CSO musicians need a reality check. They already make a great salary and have very good benefits. I know just how good they are – I am a classically-trained violinist and I truly understand and appreciate every ounce of hard work that it took for each of these musicians to achieve their success. Yes, they ARE the best orchestra in the US. But here’s a news flash: they are already receiving the best salary and compensation in the country. The argument that the coastal orchestras (like LA, SanFran, and Boston) have slightly higher salaries doesn’t come close to them making up for the cost of living differences between Chicago and those other cities! And unfortunately, virtually all employers have moved away from offering defined pensions…those days are long behind us. The musicians should face the realities of today and accept the CSOA’s offer to switch them to a defined contribution plan. It is a good and very fair offer. Perhaps the musicians should focus their efforts on trying to get a larger salary. Though, at this point, any salary increase will likely be mitigated by this already 3-week long strike. I don’t have a crystal ball, but it seems pretty clear that this isn’t going to end well for the musicians if they continue on this track.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    SFSO is in the midst of a tour. Were in Kansas City last Fri, will be in Ames IA this Fri, so if they didn’t go to Chicago, they’d hafta layover somewhere anyway.

    While I see the appeal of a traditional pension, at least with a 401k type plan, you get the money up front and control the investments you put it into. Think of all the companies that funded their pension plans with their own stock – then went belly up!