After issuing an eleventh-hour clarification of its position, the Baltimore Symphony announced last night that its musicians would be locked out of their workplace from midnight. Those who cleared their lockers yesterday saw this coming.
The board is demanding that the musicians agree to reduce their contract from 52 weeks a year to 40. Despite strenuous efforts on both sides to keep the dispute civilised, something snapped last night as the board realised it was facing bankruptcy.
The causes of this confrontation are weak management and poor financial planning. As the board itself admitted last night, it had been relying on $3.2 million of state funding that never came through.
The price for these shortcomings is to be paid by musicians and audiences. The future does not look bright.
Baltimore is the new black hole at the heart of America’s orchestral industry. It is the Minnesota de nos jours.