6:16p.m. ET: According to sources inside the negotiations, the San Antonio Symphony Society and Musicians have reached a tentative agreement. Details will be released as they are made available but(see update below) the musicians are planning to meet on Monday morning, September 3, 2007 to conduct a ratification meeting. As such, it looks like both sides have come together to find enough middle ground to avert a strike. According to one inside source the proposed agreement is a “good contract.”

Update: 8:21p.m. ET: details surrounding the agreement have been released…

The following press release issued by the San Antonino Symphony Musicians is published in its entirety, press releases from the SAS Society will be similarly published when/if it arrives:

San Antonio, TX – August 31, 2007 –
The San Antonio Symphony and the orchestra musicians – the San Antonio Symphony Player’s Association – concluded a new collective bargaining agreement today.

San Antonio Symphony chairman Ken Oleson and Brian Petkovich, chairman of the San Antonio Symphony Player’s Association, jointly announced the new agreement.

The new agreement runs for four years, beginning September 1, 2007, and will increase musician compensation by an average of 4.6 percent each year over that period. The symphony’s performance season will be extended to 27 weeks for 2007-08 and will increase one week per season, to a total of 30 weeks, by the end of the agreement.

In addition, under the terms of a new electronic media agreement, which is part of the overall contract, any Symphony concert can be broadcast on local radio up to four times, and any four Symphony concerts can be telecast on local television up to four times each.
“In partnership with the musicians,” Oleson said, “the Symphony can be assured of moving forward with a financially sound and viable future. That has been the spirit of the negotiations, and that overriding viewpoint has enabled us to get the agreement done.”

“The Orchestra Committee, which led the negotiations for the Symphony Player’s Association, will unanimously recommend ratification of the agreement to our members,” Petkovich said. “I would like to thank Ken Oleson for his steadfast commitment to the symphony over his nine years on the board, and especially throughout his tenure as chairman.”

“We’re looking forward to getting on stage and starting the new season on schedule,” he said. “What was going to be a good year is now going to be a great year.”

Oleson noted, “The symphony will finish the current fiscal year, which ends today, in the black financially – the third year in a row. All ticket sales and donations for the 2007-08 season were set aside in an escrow account so that we will begin the new season with money in the bank, something that very few symphony orchestras across the country can say.”

“The new electronic media agreement,” Petkovich said, “will make the orchestra more accessible to the community. The ability for multiple radio and television broadcasts of concerts can introduce the Symphony to a much wider audience and help us build a new group of future ticket-buyers and patrons.”

The first Pops concert of the new season – “Bernstein on Broadway” – will be held Sept. 14-15 at 8:00 p.m. in the Majestic Theatre. It will also be repeated at 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 15 in the Majestic Theatre.

Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman will join the Symphony for a special performance Sept. 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the Majestic Theatre.

The first classical concerts for 2007-08 will be held Sept. 28-29, featuring violinist Midori.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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