Baltimore Symphony loses horn to Cinc’y

Baltimore Symphony loses horn to Cinc’y


norman lebrecht

August 15, 2019

Austin Larson, rising 3rd horn at the locked-out Baltimore Symphony, will play the coming season in the Cincinnati Symphony.

A fine orchestra is being worn down by attrition.

Austin writes: Austin is currently Acting Assistant Principal Horn of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-20 season while locked out from his permanent position as Third Horn in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. 



  • EricHope says:

    Seems a little tasteless to write your own press release for an taking acting position while your orchestra is on strike……..

    • Ruben Greenberg says:

      The musicians of the Baltimore Symphony have wished him well and don’t seem to feel betrayed.

      • Leafbinder says:

        I am sure they do and of course everyone should make a living in this terrible event of a lockout. I agree that it is opportunistic if it was presented it to slipped disc as a press release which it certainly looks like it was. It is an acting position.
        Other musicians have been subbing as well.

        • Margaret Dikel says:

          Actually, this was pulled from an announcement by the musicians, not a personally-written press release send to SD.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      Of course he would write it himself. Its an opportunity for him and shows the BSO affiliates that their musicians have options. So, they need to present a good contract if they want to keep the players they are so careful choosing through the audition process.

    • Mike McGuire says:

      I agree, and if he doesn’t know about all the politics in the CSO brass section, he’s about to find out! He’ll probably be happy to get out of there.

    • Kelly says:

      “Seems a little tasteless to write your own press release for taking acting position while your orchestra is on strike….” Wake up Eric, he’s LOCKED OUT!!! Get it?

    • Max Raimi says:

      Not at all. It is in the interests of the musicians to point out how the draconian policies and ineptitude of the board and management are damaging the institution.

  • JPAULO says:

    His orchestra is locked out. Very different from a strike.

  • Musician says:

    It’s just a one year contract. This is very common during work stoppages.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    BTW, a while back commenters were trying to figure out which two Baltimore horns were playing in the UK. (This was before Slipped Disc got tangled up in a conductor’s sleeves.) One was Austin Larson (BBC and RPO); the other was principal horn Phil Munds (Covent Garden).

    • The View from America says:

      “(This was before Slipped Disc got tangled up in a conductor’s sleeves.)”

      Right, the flap about the flapping sleeves.


  • MacroV says:

    Lockout or not, Cincinnati is a bigger, better-paying orchestra, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he would take a one-year gig there in any case (or a permanent job if one were on offer).

    There’s no attrition if he comes back. And if he doesn’t, they’ll just audition and hire a new horn player; lots of good ones out there.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      What has happened in Berlin, New York, Cleveland, and Chicago show thats not quite true.

    • Aubrey Foard says:

      Dude. No. We don’t want to be uprooting our lives and running off to the four corners of the world to play with other orchestras just to get by. We want to be paid a fair wage to be at home working in our orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony. That’s what we all want. But we’ve been forced to go out and take whatever work we can get because of years of mismanagement and a visionless path forward.

      We’re super happy for Austin and everyone else who gets stable work during these times because it’s a heck of a lot better than being faced with the prospect of no paycheck every single week, dealing with unemployment insurance, begging for work, etc. But don’t think for a second that we wouldn’t rather be playing in the orchestra that we fought for our entire lives to get into, worked to get tenure in, spent week after week staying on top of repertoire, and so much more.

    • Max Raimi says:

      Even the finest musicians need time to acclimate and learn to play with their section and their orchestra. If enough players leave, there is no cohesion, just a pick-up band. Many on this board ascribe no real value to musicians; they seem to see us as fungible and eminently replaceable. It is clear that they have never played in a great orchestra, but unclear why they like to frequent a classical music board.

    • failboat says:

      That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

  • AFM member says:

    BSO musicians should be kept out of subbing in NYC orchestras or other top level groups. It is competitive enough to get work in NYC or in another metropolis. We do not need them up here or anywhere else! Stay in your Baltimore slum. I hope the AFM locals will enforce this and not let more musicians get displaced by strikers from another city.

    • Paul says:

      The BSO musicians are not on strike! They are LOCKED OUT! Do you still subscribe to your ridiculous opinion, with this important fact that you somehow missed?!

      • AFM member says:

        Lock out or strike are interchangeable terms to describe the situation. MLB players went on strike in 1994 and had a ‘lockout.’ These BSO musicians should not be allowed to displace other musicians from a different region as a result of their strike. They are not more entitled to work than other musicians. I hope Local 802 and others around the country make sure that musicians from their locals continue to work and not feel ramifications from the BSO situation. We can all agree MARIN ALSOP was the one to lead to BSO’s demise. What an Awful conductor and musician she is. NY Philharmonic musicians used to dread the weeks she guest conducted. During the BSO work stoppage, she’s busy now touring and guest conducting other orchestras and hanging out with girls. Other orchestras should take note of this and not hire her ever to be MD. Her leadership from the podium and off the podium is clueless.

        • barry guerrero says:

          I’ve seen Marin Alsop conduct. I’ve seen previous Music Directors of the N.Y. Phil. (not van Zweden) and various other big-name guest conductors with the N.Y. Phil. conduct. I’ll take Marin Alsop most any time.

          • Mick Mcmickmic says:

            I’d take Marin over the sociopath with gorilla arms van Zweden, too. He is WAY overrated and is in it for one thing only–himself.

  • Robert Groen says:

    Nothing against Cincinnati, but to see poor Baltimore sink into the swamp does hurt. What a fine band it was under Comisiona!

  • Lets Get Real says:

    Austin is a self-promoter. Good on him (that’s sarcasm). If the BSO were not locked out (shame that they are), this would still be a great opportunity for him. He’s going to make a lot more money. It’s a no brainer – lockout aside. Now, if the BSO management would come back to the table, maybe this won’t turn into a permanent move for him.
    This guy has been auditioning elsewhere since he joined the orchestra, so let’s not be so naive that it was only the lockout. He auditioned in Europe while they were on tour a year ago, hence the BBC work.
    Make no mistake. This is not a lateral move. It’s a significant pay bump. This guy is jetting all over the place wearing his Baltimore Symphony T-Shirt.
    No doubt this is falling on deaf ears for the orchestra board. BSO needs a new strategy and a new committee. The ineptitude of their orchestra committee is second to none. They have squandered every bit of leverage they had.
    Good for Austin, but don’t feel too much sympathy for him. He’s smiling all the way to the bank.

  • Tubingirl says:

    Most of the comments are spot on but a missing piece of the puzzle is the player in question early on in the lockout posted a few “look at me and my cool gigs” posts. Probably where the mean spirited opinions are coming from.

  • Jumeer Castel says:

    Every single member of the BSO can be replaced with a young colleague that would work for 1/2 of what the BSO is paid.