Chicago cancels 4th week of concerts

As the strike continues, conductor Jakub Hrůša and violinist Lisa Batiashvili have been left with an empty week.

Also cancelled is a Civic Orchestra of Chicago free concert featuring works by Smetana,= and Bacewicz, and a selection of Scandinavian folk songs arranged by the Danish String Quartet excerpted from their album Wood Works.

Plus next Monday’s MusicNOW concert titled “Dark With Excessive Bright” with Principal Percussion Cynthia Yeh (pictured) and Principal Bass Alexander Hanna in works by Gabriella Smith and Missy Mazzoli, including the world premiere of a new CSO-commissioned arrangement of Mazzoli’s Dark With Excessive Bright, as well as works by Mario Diaz de León and Anna Southam.


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  • It’s a pity of course that the audience misses these concerts and they miss a conductor as talented and interesting as Mr. Hrusa (I’ve heard him twice in NY). However, everyone needs to get around a table and get a deal done, nomatter the merits on either side, a deal needs to get done. I support the orchestra of course, they’re great and I love hearing them in Chicago (occasionally) and when they tour to NYC. Let’s hope sane heads can prevail and get Muti and the orchestra back in business…

    • “everyone needs to get around a table and get a deal done, nomatter the merits on either side, a deal needs to get done”

      You do know it’s not that simple, right? If it were, the strike wouldn’t even have started.

      This is the kind of unthinking and completely unreflective comment that explains the larger phenomenon of public lunacy in the UK and US. igmo.

      • Ultimately it is how things will get worked out. It’s a negotiation. Unless you think either side will just cave in and say “OK, you’re right, we give up.” It’s simply a matter of time before both sides are ready to sit down and hash out a deal. It’s neither unthinking nor unreflective. It’s the way of the world. I guess there are 30 similarly unreflective people who agree and 2 reflective ones who don’t………….

        • “I guess there are 30 similarly unreflective people who agree and 2 reflective ones who don’t…”

          Wow … I … give up …

          • You could try explaining what you mean by “it’s not that simple,” or perhaps explain why you think John Kelly’s comment is unthinking & unreflective, and how it contributes to the larger phenomenon of public lunacy. That might get you further than just saying “that’s stupid” and expecting everyone to agree unthinkingly and unreflectively. (I know you didn’t use the word “stupid;” I’m paraphrasing.)

            Care to explain, rather than giving up?

  • Why can’t the musicians offer the same program for free to the public at another venue? Or charge for tickets but keep 100% of the proceeds for themselves.

    Is there some sort of noncompete clause in their contract?

    I mean, they’re already offering concerts of Mozart and Beethoven, why not Mazzoli (I’m sure she’d be more than happy to waive her fees/royalties in support of the musicians) or whoever else the composer for the week is.

    Afterall, the aim of the strike is not to deprive the people of Chicago classical music (or themselves of money), but to hurt the Association financially to force them to a deal.

    By playing the programs for free (or keeping all ticket sales), the musicians achieve both aims.

  • Well, that was a month’s pay.

    Or $13,300 for a rookie rank and file orchestra member.

    Or $45,800 for the concertmaster.

    (Before taxes and other deductions.)

    Since Muti is off these weeks, not much of a hit for him. (God, it’s good to be a music director conducting only 10 weeks a season.)

      • I’m sure he’ll double SFS’s $15,000 contribution.

        I’m waiting for him to make a pledge to match dollar for dollar every contribution made to the CSO.

  • The bison that once roamed the Midwest would follow the lead steer off a cliff to the peril of the entire herd.

    It was the easiest way for the Native Americans to harvest the meat. So they just got the leaders to head towards a cliff. And the followers would do just that. Follow.

    Even if it didn’t make much sense for the well being of the herd.

  • It’s just an opinion, but I think messing with the Civic Orchestra’s schedule isn’t cool.

    • Agreed. There was supposed to have been a Civic centennial celebration concert last evening with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Yo-Yo Ma…which is unfortunately now postponed.

  • I like Mr. Kelly’s comment. But I think it will take Muti’s intervention to “break the ice”. Much as Osmo had to do in Minneapolis.

    I think he has to threaten to walk. I support the orchestra members also.

    • Muti’s influence and importance is overstated.

      He likes to present himself as an elder statesman of culture, but really, what has he ever said or done that mattered, even in Italy? Rome and La Scala are doing fine without him. There is always someone to replace you: Gatti, Chailly, Barenboim…

      The CSO would save a ton of money if he walked.

      And how long can Chicago remain the dinosaur among the Big Seven, ossifying into an imitation of a Vienna Philharmonic which it never should be?

      Today Chicago elects a black woman mayor. The times they are a changin’.

      Renew the orchestra, renew the conductor.

      • The CSO musicians are partying like it’s 1980, but the center of American classical music has long shifted to the West Coast.

        Read the CSO musicians’ statement, it really sticks in their craw that they are making less than their colleagues in LA and SF. Literally, it is one of the reasons they are striking.

        I don’t begrudge anyone making as much money as they can, but the CSO musicians are appealing to the public for support totally oblivious to the profoundly divided America/Chicago they live in: their concerns don’t matter to 99% of the people of Chicago.

        And some European carpetbagger who jets in a few weeks a year (is it too much to ask for if you get paid $2 million to live in the city whose orchestra you are the music director of?) ain’t gonna make one bit of difference.

        • Fritz Reiner “jetted in” from Connecticut for the entire duration and Solti lived at the Drake Hotel – when he was in town…………

      • At least Muti has the guts to come out and talk about the problems facing our culture and society—most people won’t say anything at all. Also, there really aren’t many other conductors today at the level of Muti who could replace him…he’s one of the last podium greats.

        • Lip service and photo op, where’s his $15,000 contribution (at least) where it most counts?

          (One must admit with admiration, the SFS set a rather high minimum for strikes…)

  • It can certainly be argued since orchestra members make so much $ as it is, working for a nonprofit, that they are showing how little they care for the audience and art and the economic viability of the orchestra going forward into the future- this type of pension plan went out decades ago for even those paid much less

  • I’m confused… They are musicians, right? Artists. This contract negotiation has now turned into a fight because they aren’t being offered “the best” salary and benefits (from their perspective). They are trying to argue that having a defined contribution plan, instead of a defined pension, is insulting. So, to protest this injustice, the musicians have decided to strike (without pay!) and instead play FREE concerts all over Chicago? Which is it? Are they in it for the love and passion of music-making? Or did they become musicians for the money? I suppose both motivations can be there simultaneously. But, I find it rather disingenuous to argue that you deserve and need more money, and then you go out and do your job for free! Instead, why not just accept a very good and reasonable offer from your employer and get back to work?

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