Will Baltimore musicians lose their health care?

Will Baltimore musicians lose their health care?


norman lebrecht

June 05, 2019

The Baltimore Symphony seson has been abruptly ended.

The players are unemployed through the summer, under pressure from their CEO Peter Kjome to sign a new 40-week contract.

Latest from the Baltimore Sun: When asked if the musicians would receive health insurance this summer if they decline the proposed contract, Kjome did not immediately respond.



  • Edgar says:

    How about all the Baltimore SO musicians founding their own organization, with a new name, and leave Peter Kjome and the Board with no orchestra to ruin?

    • Greg Tiwidichitch says:

      They could do that but they would need to find millions of dollars worth of sponsors and donors, contract with venues to perform in, hire stage hands and production, produce brochures, plan seasons, hire guest artists, etc. If only it were that easy…

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      How did that work for the Syracuse Symphony? Are the musicians of Symphoria making a living?

      • Fridolf says:

        The musicians of Symphoria in Syracuse, New York, ratified their first one-year agreement. The agreement—basic, but comprehensive—is intended to serve as a template for future agreements. Much of the language was taken from previous Syracuse Symphony Orchestra contracts, as well as procedures and agreements used during the founding of Symphoria. The orchestra’s musicians are represented by Local 78 (Syracuse, NY).

        The contact establishes an annual salary of $12,600, and an orchestra complement of 48 core musicians with five additional contract musicians. Season length is 35 weeks for the regular season and an additional two weeks in the summer. Existing health care and dental care policies will remain intact, and the contract establishes two sick leave services per season.

  • anon says:

    1) Health care comes with employment, if there is no contract, there is no employment. There is always Obamacare.

    2) Apropos the photo: yes, CEOs (and music directors) are expected to dance and schmooze and dine and drink with wealthy patrons in hopes they’ll throw a few million dollars their way, and during these fundraising balls, the orchestra is even expected to play for free. It’s tough in America. In Europe, you just bribe the local council member. ; )

    • Bill says:

      Obamacare enrollment only happens once a year. What are they supposed to do in the interim, use the Trump/Republican healthcare plan known as “don’t get sick”?

      • Bill says:

        There are some circumstances under which you can obtain coverage other than during the open enrollment period. You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you’ve had certain life events, including losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child.

        • Bill says:

          And there is no guarantee they would qualify for it, even if enrollment is available to them.

        • The View from America says:

          Which is precisely what I was able to do a few months back, due to a change in insurance coverage status.

    • Bill says:

      In the US, health care is usually tied to employment, an unfortunate historical artifact. It makes about as much sense as tying police or fire department services to employment, but we’re stuck with it for now.

      • DD says:

        Bill, you’re saying that being employed and paying for your own health insurance is unfortunate but then you say it should be paid by others that are employed, earning a living, and paying for their own health insurance. Isn’t that doubly unfortunate?

        • Bill says:

          No, I’m saying that that the model that essentially ties health coverage to a specific job traps people with serious health issues and provides no apparent societal advantage in return. It’s certainly not the case that the “employed, earning a living, and paying for their own health insurance” aren’t also footing at least part of the bill for the un- or underinsured now. The US spends much more on health care per capita and gets much less for it. About the only thing to like about the model is that some people do quite well by it.

          Are you taking the position that only the gainfully employed deserve health care? Given all the things the government spends money on (money involuntarily contributed, for the most part), protecting the health of the people seems like a decent thing to do with some of that money.

    • Ravi Narasimhan says:

      “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
      — G.Orwell

  • Alan says:

    Barbaric country. No civilized nation can be called such if bases it its healthcare on a person’s ability to pay

    • anon says:

      Trump wants to export America’s health care to Britain after Brexit, to negotiate a trade agreement that opens up access to the NHS.

      (And John Eliot Gardiner was worried about chlorinated chickens.)

      • CA says:

        He sure does and the US needs to stop at the US’ border.

      • mathias broucek says:

        Key words are “access to”. In other words the NHS can buy service from US providers as it currently does from private sector European providers. It’s quite a long way from killing the NHS and any government that tried to do so would be not long for this world

    • Cubs Fan says:

      No one who is ill and is not insured goes without. There are laws requiring hospitals to take care of everyone. In many so-called “civilized” nations, the health care system is a mess. Overwhelmed, underfunded, long wait times, restrictions on who can have what procedure and so on. Some of the greatest medical centers in the world are in the US, like the Mayo Clinics, Cleveland Clinic, M.D. Anderson and so on. Maybe single-payer, government run health care is a good thing, but no one – of any political stripe – has figured out how to do it.

      • Eric says:

        I live in a civilized northern European country and the health service works very well. Restrictions on who can have what procedure are much greater in the US where ability to pay is always the bottom line.

        • DD says:

          If your system is not based on ability to pay, then why pay for it? Everyone in your civilized country should stop paying and spend their money on something else.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            In civilised Europe we have “pooling” of health risks. It turns out to be much cheaper than the US and everyone is covered. We do all pay, but even healthy people in jobs pay less. The costs are paid by a central national organisation who collects the money to pay for it from each person in the country based on their ability to pay. We all choose who runs the central organisation on our behalf. Funnily enough, we call that organisation “the government”.

      • DAVID says:

        Many countries in the world have figured out how to do it and have been doing it for decades.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care

      • Cyril says:

        “No one who is ill and is not insured goes without. There are laws requiring hospitals to take care of everyone.”

        Wrong. The law says that anyone who shows up at an emergency room with an emergent condition must be treated, and stabilized. (And then at that point the hospital can bill them whatever they choose to.) That is the only situation in which someone MUST be treated.

        Any type of illness which is less than an emergent condition – including cancer, any chronic disease, etc. – is not required by law to be treated. Millions of Americans with chronic diseases and with cancer go untreated because they have no insurance, or are underinsured.

    • DD says:

      Why? Doctors do.

    • NHConductor says:

      If the only signs of barbarism and decadence in the USA were the lack of decent health coverage and its elected leader…

      That is why I am so happy to live now in the (continental) European Union union with excellent universal health coverage, terrific quality of life (let’s remember that European countries make the majority of the 30 top countries in the Quality of Life Index), affordable access to culture (and the continent of classical music!), and REAL freedom!

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        Amen brother! The real freedom can’t be found in Europe (from Sweden to Spain), not anymore in the US. The real land of the free, of the universal healthcare and affordable access to art and culture!

    • Dd says:

      But you’re perfectly content with taking-forcing funds from anyone who only wants to pay for themselves. Hmm?

  • John Bonboni says:

    To answer the question posed in the headline – YES, musicians of the Baltimore Symphony WILL lose their employer-provided healthcare.

  • Anon says:

    But I bet the office staff retain all their benefits. The musicians are always the bottom of the pile, despite the fact they create the wealth for the pen pushers. Same in Europe.

  • TK says:

    Usually orchestras that operate on contracts shorter than 52 weeks still provide health benefits year-round.

  • Full Sun Article Pasted Below says:

    Baltimore Symphony Orchestra timpanist James Wyman fears that the unexpected loss of his salary this summer will delay scheduled surgery that could improve the hearing of his 7-year-old son.

    First violinist Holly Jenkins worries that she will struggle to make payments on $106,000 in student loans with the money she can scrape together this summer from dog-walking and private music lessons.

    And trumpet player Matt Barker was hit with a double whammy of bad news this week. Not only will he not get paid this summer, his teacher wife learned that her job will probably be eliminated. The blow couldn’t come at a worse time; the couple are expecting their first child, a boy, in September.

    “The most disturbing thing was that things were going so well,” Barker, 27, said.

    Legislative leaders call on Gov. Hogan to release funding for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    “I beat the odds and got my dream job. My wife and I bought a condo in Columbia last fall. Management and the musicians were working together to resolve the orchestra’s financial problems. Five weeks ago, the BSO’s summer season was announced. We were so optimistic.

    “Then on Friday, my wife found out from Facebook that the BSO musicians are being locked out. She had a meeting this morning and was told that half of the elementary music teacher jobs in her school district are being eliminated. This is her first year teaching, so we don’t think she’ll have a job next fall. We don’t know if we’ll have health insurance when she gives birth. These past few days have been really tough.”

    Symphony management announced last week that it was canceling summer programming and reinstating a controversial proposal to shorten the performing season from 52 weeks to 40 weeks — accompanied by a roughly 20% cut in musicians’ pay. Under the former contract, which expired in January, the musicians earned a base salary of not quite $83,000 a year. The orchestra and players are negotiating a new contract.

    BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome has said that cutting summer performances is necessary to stem the symphony’s repeated losses, which have totaled $16 million in the past decade.

    “Other major orchestras have concluded that reducing the number of paid weeks is one of the key ways to help ensure a sustainable business model,” he wrote in a statement Tuesday.

    The announcement was made one week after a bill granting the symphony an additional $3.2 million in funding became law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. That grant — designed to keep the orchestra playing over the summer — is among the funds allocated for several projects that Hogan has hesitated to release, saying he’s concerned that Maryland will soon face a significant budget shortfall.

    Wanted: Maryland millionaires to keep the BSO world-class
    Brian Prechtl, co-chairman of the players’ committee, said that Hogan received 2,345 emails from 42 states as of Tuesday (including 1,630 from Maryland) urging him to free up money for the Symphony. Prechtl added that the musicians “were caught completely off-guard that their paychecks will end in less than a month.”

    The timing, he said, has left 75 people with mortgages, college tuition payments and medical bills scrambling on very short notice to figure out how to make ends meet.

    Kjome said Tuesday in his statement that if the musicians agree to a reduced performing year, the Symphony will agree to provide them with health insurance year-round. In addition, he said the musicians wouldn’t be entirely without pay over the summer.

    “Similar to an approach that has been taken by other major orchestras, the BSO has proposed that along with compensation during the 40 week season, there would also be a stipend paid during each of the non-working weeks,” Kjome said in the statement.

    He suggested that the musicians could supplement their income by performing in summer music festivals.

    But Barker said that it’s his understanding “that the stipend would come out to just a few hundred dollars a week.” Wyman added that most orchestras have already hired all the musicians they’ll need for this summer’s concerts.

    When asked if the musicians would receive health insurance this summer if they decline the proposed contract, Kjome did not immediately respond.

    Wyman found out that he would be without an income this summer the week before he and his wife are scheduled to close on their new house. They’re moving from Randallstown in Baltimore County to Westminster because they want their three young children to attend Carroll County’s excellent public schools.

    BSO musicians bring ‘Peter and the Wolf’ to Enoch Pratt Free Library in Highlandtown
    Taking on a new mortgage as their income nosedives would be a be a strain under any circumstances. But, that’s not the worst of it.

    “The biggest, scariest thing is thinking that we’re going to lose our health insurance this summer,” Wyman said.

    “My middle child [Broden] has had some health setbacks because he was born prematurely. He’s being monitored for everything you can think of. Developmentally, he’s six months to a year behind other kids his age. But he’s been getting speech therapy, occupational therapy and other kinds of help. He’s close to getting caught up with his classmates.”

    Wyman and his wife had high hopes that surgery would be scheduled for this summer. Tubes would be inserted into Broden’s ears that would make it easier for him to hear and that could accelerate the progress he’s been making. But without medical insurance, Wyman said, that surgery will have to be indefinitely postponed.

    “Without health insurance, we can’t function as a family,” Wyman said. “I’ve been on the phone the past few days with colleagues from around the country begging for work. I will do anything I can that will bring home a paycheck for my kids.”

    First violinist Holly Jenkins learned less than three hours before her performance last Thursday that she wouldn’t get paid this summer.

    “A friend texted me the article in The Baltimore Sun,” she said.

    ”It was really horrible. I was so shocked and hurt, I was nauseated before the performance. I went on stage weeping.”

    To hone her skills to the level required for a professional career, Jenkins, now 27, took out $106,000 in student loans to finance her bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

    For two years, it seemed as though her sacrifice was worth it. She was hired by the BSO in 2016. Within a short time, she was promoted from the second violin section to the first.

    Determined to pay off her loans before she turns 40, Jenkins has been living frugally. She shares a small apartment with a roommate near Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

    She’s not home often; like other BSO musicians, Jenkins frequently works six-day weeks, with just Mondays off. Even on her “days off” and when she’s on vacation, Jenkins rehearses four to five hours a day — as do most colleagues.

    That’s the minimum amount of work necessary to remain at peak performance level, she said.

    Losing her salary each summer would mean that she likely couldn’t pay off her student loans before 2060, the year she’ll turn 68.

    “When I was hired two years ago, I thought, ‘Wow. This is it. I’m going to be OK,’” she said.

    “But if the proposal for the shortened season goes through, I’m going to start auditioning for positions with other orchestras.

    ”I just want to work.”

  • Doug says:

    Can you please get your terminology straight?

    They may be losing their health insurance but not their health care. Unlike the vaunted NHS, where a five year old boy is sent home to die of spinal meningitis, most sane people in the world WANT to be in the United States when health CARE issues become serious.

    • Bill says:

      You’ll find it quite difficult to get any of the top-end care that people elsewhere with great means justifiably seek out here if you don’t have health insurance. Pricing for a “cash” or “self-pay” patient is regularly several times what the provider will accept from an insurer, even after any discount for payment up front. And shopping around on basis of price is difficult, at best.

      Even people with insurance in the US are effectively sent home to die, if their insurance company decides it doesn’t want to cover some expensive treatment. And if you don’t have an obviously emergent condition, the emergency room is allowed to turn you away for lack of ability to pay — hopefully you can still get back there in time for treatment once your condition turns critical!

      If the US health insurance industry was such a great thing, large employers would not generally choose to self-insure their employees (only paying the insurance companies to administer the claims).

  • James MacNulty III says:

    “in a violent weekend for Baltimore City, police responded to a deadly stabbing and eight shootings. Police said 11 people were injured and two men were killed, including a 17-year-old. City leaders are now saying it’s time to try different tactics to reduce violence. Mayor Jack Young said he’s considering having people solve their issues in a boxing match.”


  • guest says:

    The orchestra could do what my (US) university did; spread the 9 month salary over 12 months with no increase in pay. Leaving the musicians with 3 free summer months to play festivals while cutting your own summer work is bad logic.

    • Bruce says:

      That’s what my orchestra (much smaller than Baltimore) does. Musicians have the choice of being paid over 9 months or 12 months; if you enroll in the orchestra’s health insurance plan, you have to choose the 12-month option.

  • Cyril says:

    Thank goodness for the Affordable Care Act. All the musicians will be able to go onto the state exchange and buy health insurance. Depending on their annual income, they may or may not qualify for a subsidy.

    Some presidents actually cared about the social safety net.

  • anon says:

    Can someone (who actually knows) please describe what the legal relationship is between the musicians and the BSO, Inc. Employees? independent contractors? If you are an employee how can you not get paid? (you are hourly waged employee not salaried exempt?) how can you not get health care? isnt that called “firing”? You’re either an employee or you are not (right?)

    • MWnyc says:

      The Baltimore Symphony musicians are salaried employees working under a union contract. Unfortunately, that contract expired in January; musicians and management have been unable to agree on a new one since.

      So, since January, the musicians have been employed essentially on an ad hoc basis, though as a group. Management locking them out for the summer is legal, since neither management nor musicians is bound by a contract.

  • Perhaps worth noting once again that most major cities in continental Europe have several 52-week season orchestras (see a newly expanded sample list below, including 8 full time orchestras in Tokyo) while most American cities cannot maintain even one 52 week orchestra. This neglect of the arts stems from the same social and economic concepts that have decimated our cities, an unmitigated form of radical laissez faire capitalism that sets the USA apart from the social democracies of every other developed country in the world.
    Even some cities in less rich countries like Mexico City and Caracas have multiple full time orchestras. Moscow has 12, London 8, Paris at least 6, Minsk 8, Tokyo 8, Munich 7, Vienna 7, Berlin 7, Prague 8, Stockholm 3, Budapest 9, Madrid 4, Barcelona 2, Athens 5, Bucharest 5, Caracas at least 6, and Mexico City at least 5. Here’s a list of these orchestras. Corrections welcomed. Even Tokyo has 8 full time orchestras.

    Now let our American denial and rationalizations continue while we reduce yet another season and treat musicians badly…

    + Moscow Chamber Orchestra
    + Moscow City Symphony Orchestra
    + Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
    + Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
    + Moscow Symphony Orchestra
    + Moscow Virtuosi
    + National Philharmonic of Russia
    + Russian National Orchestra
    + Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    + State Symphony Capella of Russia
    + State Symphony Cinema Orchestra
    + Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
    (Moscow also has more opera performances per year than any other city in the world, including Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London. Meanwhile, New York is no longer even in the top 10.)

    + London Symphony Orchestra
    + London Philharmonic
    + Royal Philharmonic
    + Philharmonia
    + BBC Symphony Orchestra
    + BBC Concert Orchestra
    + Royal Opera Orchestra
    + English National Opera Orchestra
    (There are several other worldclass orchestras in London that are not full time such as the London Sinfonietta, English Chamber Orchestra, and Academy of St Martin’s in the Field.)

    + L’Orchestre National de Radio-France
    + Orchestre de Paris
    + Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    + L’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris
    + Ensemle Intercontemporain
    + Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
    + Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup.
    + Orchestre Colonne,
    + Orchestre Lamoureux
    (The Paris Opera Orchestra has 170 members since the services must be rotated to meet demand. The last two orchestras are more marginal and may not be full time.)

    + Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    + Bavarian Radio Orchestra
    + Munich Philharmonic
    + Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
    + Gärtnerplatz Opera Orchestra
    + Munich Symphoniker
    + Munich Chamber Orchestra

    + Vienna Philharmonic
    + Vienna Symphony Orchestra
    + Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    + Vienna State Radio Orchestra
    + Volksoper Orchestra
    + Vienna Klang Forum
    + Tonkünstlerorchester
    (The VPO and State Opera Orchestra use the same personnel, but the ensemble has 149 positions so that they can rotate the services. I think there might be other orchestras in the city I don’t know about.)

    + Berliner Philharmoniker
    + Konzerthausorchester Berlin
    + Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    + Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
    + Orchester der Staatsoper Unter den Linden/Staatskapelle Berlin
    + Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
    + Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin

    +Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    + Czech National Symphonic Orchestra
    +Prague Symphony Orchestra “F.O.K.”
    +Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
    +National Theatre Opera Orchestra
    +The Capitol Prague Opera Orchestra
    +Prague Film Orchestra
    +Prague Chamber Philharmonic

    +Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
    +Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    +Royal Opera House
    +Stockholm Chamber Orchestra

    +Budapest Festival Orchestra
    +Budapest Philharmonic
    +Hungarian National Philharmonic
    +Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok
    +Hungarian State Opera Orchestra
    +Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    +Concerto Budapest
    +Danubia Orchestra
    +Hungarian Railway Symphony

    + Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid (royal opera)
    + Orquesta Sinfónica de la Radio y Televisión Española
    + Orquesta Nacional de España
    + Orquesta de la comunidad de madrid
    + Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya
    + Orquestra Simfónica del Gran Teatre del Liceu” (opera)

    + State Orchestra of Athens
    + Orchestra of Athens
    + National Opera
    + Radio Symphony Orchestra
    + Philharmonia Orchestra
    +State Orchestra of Thessaloniki
    + Orchestra of Thessaloniki
    + New Orchestra of Thessaloniki

    + National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra
    + Belarusian State Academic Musical Theatre Orchestra
    + National Academic Concert Orchestra (jazz/pop)
    + Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of

    + State Academic Symphony Orchestra
    + State Chamber Orchestra
    + State Academic Zhynovich Folk Instruments Orchestra
    + State Radio Symphony Orchestra

    + The George Enescu Philharmonic
    + The Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra
    + The National Romanian Opera Orchestra
    + Radio Chamber Orchestra
    + Bucharest Operetta and Musical Orchestra
    Caracas, Venezuela
    +Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela
    +Orquesta Filarmonica de Venezuela
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Juan José Landaeta
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Simon Bolívar A
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Simon Bolívar
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Barroca

    Mexico City
    + Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional,
    + Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México
    + Orq. Filarmónica de la UNAM
    + Orq. Sinfónica del IPN
    + Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes and
    Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes
    There are also two youth orchestras that are seen by some as providing full time jobs.

    + The NHK Symphony Orchestra
    + Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
    + Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
    + Tokyo City Philharmonic
    + Japan Philharmonic
    + New Japan Philharmonic
    + Tokyo Philharmonic
    + Tokyo Symphony

    • Nijinsky says:

      I wonder if you could comment (or just discuss) on why the United States has so many music schools (Curtis Colburn, Julliard, Peabody etc, etc,), and yet they don’t have the resources to give those people decent jobs who study there, it seems.

      I’m not contradicting you as to the vast riff, it just seems quite contradictory to have that many music school that are considered high level, and yet the riff in opportunities for employment.

      To me, one major reason seems to be that it attracts people from other countries, and then also it seems many graduates go abroad to get a job. That might also be image. To say you graduated from Julliard sounds impressive, just like saying you sang at the MET, but yet they are both in an environment that isn’t really supporting the arts soundly.

      It seems quite Hollywood to me also, in ways, the marketing here. There’s only a group of five or so soloists (all studied in the US) that are said to fill a hall here, all are with IMG artists, and there goes the glamour image with interviews etc.. And then there are teachers like Delay or Galamian, or Fleischer(I just had to look up his name and it says on the Peabody intro page “World class means you can move the world.” And this really makes me laugh that I think sarcastically: “Oh how American”, to advertise yourself as something global). We’re world famous but we don’t take care of our own people or culture, I think the planet has been inundated with quite a bit already. And how much does the education glamorize being a world famous virtuoso, the 5 big ones travelling around in the US making more money each year than most orchestras here, and thus being able to fill a hall but it seems turning off the audience that used to fill it more regularly without the stimulus of all the media games now attached to celebrity hype, personality cults and how to get computer algorithms to put you on the top of the news feed.

      Just in going on about it here, it reminds me of the books of Edith Wharton describing the environment in old New York: the images games, the need to copy Europe, needing to be the best, $$$$$.

      And beyond all of that there was a culture here already before Europe came over here. I’ve become interested in that, just by trying to be creative. How Jazz embraces the overtone series closer than Western harmony. What kind of symbolism there is in visual art that when Frida Kahlo painted it was erroneously called surrealism, when it was expressing essence, what dreams can express.

      • DD says:

        “I wonder if you could comment (or just discuss) on why the United States has so many music schools (Curtis Colburn, Julliard, Peabody etc, etc,), and yet they don’t have the resources to give those people decent jobs who study there, it seems.”

        Supply and Demand.

        Lots of people want to attend music schools. There are lots of music schools.

        Most people don’t want to attend Classical Music venues, so there are fewer of them.

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        I don’t think the schools are really that great in the USA. They do have great PR departments. That is the secret behind it. PR to attract donors, PR to attract money for scholarships for those students who are already performing at a professional level, PR to attract those students who will go into debt to attend the schools… the level of the teaching is not as good as their PR departments claim.

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      This is a good list, but some of the orchestras you list are project orchestras (Prague Film, for example), some are youth orchestras, and some are not even such (Klangforum is a contemporary music ensemble with c.17 hired m7sicians).

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    The photo reminds me of a line from the excellent Istvan Szabo film “Oberst Redl” (Colonel Redl), spoken shortly before the outbreak of WWI: “der Kaiserwalz is ausgetanzt”.

  • The Truth Hurths says:

    Now the privileged musicians of the BSO will get to experience the struggles that the freelance musicians in Baltimore have had to endure for decades. Enjoy eating your green beans from the can paid for with an EBT card, Andy Balio.

  • Nijinsky says:

    It would be helpful to get the whole picture, and then alternatives.

    From what logic at this point would it be so necessary to start cutting the budget, rather than after the Summer? And is such logic founded?

    It seems that the orchestra can’t go on the way it has without possibly going bankrupt, or is that not true?

    If after the Summer not being cancelled, the musicians negotiate a new contract, how can it be ensured that the orchestra isn’t in danger of going bankrupt, where upon no one has a job?

    What other ways are there to make sure that the orchestra doesn’t go bankrupt?

    If the musicians had been warned earlier, would that have made a difference cancelling next season’s Summer instead, or is there a better alternative, and what is that?

    “Kjome has said the bill providing an injection of emergency funds is not sufficient to dig out of the orchestra’s financial hole. “Their support was greatly appreciated,” he said of legislative leaders. “But when we look at our very serious financial issues, their support alone is not enough.”


    “These decisions were extremely difficult to make and were not entered into lightly, but they are the right ones if the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is going to continue to exist as a nationally renowned organization,” said BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome. “If the BSO is going to survive, our business model needs to change, and that change begins in earnest today. In our view, moving from 52 weeks to 40 weeks is necessary. We look forward to working with our musicians as we navigate this change and prepare for a future that is strong and vibrant.”


    What could Kjome have done differently to spare the symphony from possible bankruptcy?