Negotiations Don’t Cancel Concerts, People Cancel Concerts

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-138The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has officially cancelled the next 47 days of concert events, through 11/8/2014. The official ASO statement asserts the cancellations are “due to negotiations between ASO management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association (ASOPA) over a new collective bargaining agreement.” Unfortunately, that’s not terribly accurate since the mere act of negotiating is incapable of rising to the level of canceling scheduled event activity.

In effect, this was a ham-handed PR effort to soften an otherwise harsh reference that the concerts were cancelled due to the employer locking out the employees. A better option here would have been to make use of the parent term “work stoppage” as it still manages to accurately skirt the reality that the musicians have been locked out.

Semantics aside, the most accurate and concise version of the cancellation statement would read “due to the ASO’s decision to lockout the musicians from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association (ASOPA) after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement…”

In the end, ticket holders are out of luck and it looks like there isn’t much hope of the ASO labor dispute to resolve any time soon.

Read the complete ASO cancellation notice.

To our valued patrons —

Today we regretfully announced the cancellation of all orchestral concerts through November 8, 2014, including the opening performance of the 2014-15 season on September 25, due to negotiations between ASO management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association (ASOPA) over a new collective bargaining agreement.

If an agreement is reached between ASO management and ASOPA before November 8, the classical season will be re-launched as soon as possible.

We are encouraging all of our patrons to keep their tickets until a new agreement can be reached. In the interim, there are a few options for you to consider.

  • You may exchange your tickets to a future Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert. A list of future concerts with good seating availability will be mailed out when the work stoppage is over in order to help you make a choice of concerts.
  • You may consider the full face value of your unused tickets as a contribution to the ASO.
  • You can request a full cash refund for any concerts that are cancelled. You will be reimbursed for any service fees.

Our ticket office will be open during normal business hours in order to assist you with exchanges or refunds. Patrons with complimentary tickets can exchange into another concert, pending availability. Parking may be exchanged along with your tickets on a space available basis. If space is not available, parking will be refunded.

Season ticket holders are encouraged to contact the ASO Season Tickets office at (404) 733-4800 with any questions.

The current list of concerts that will not be performed includes:

  • Opening Weekend – Sept 25, 27 and 28
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 9 – Oct 2, 4 and 5
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 6  – Oct 9 and 11
  • Lang Lang – Oct 15*
  • Ravel, Bolero – Oct 16 and 18
  • POPS!, Jason Alexander – Oct 24 and 25
  • FAMILY, Halloween Spooktacular – Oct 25
  • Grieg Piano Concerto – Nov 6, 7 and 8

*special presentation

For more information on the current contract negotiations, please visit our website atatlantasymphony.org/2014musiciantalks.

We deeply appreciate your patronage and look forward to continuing to make music in Symphony Hall.

Best regards,

Stanley E. Romanstein, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

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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6 thoughts on “Negotiations Don’t Cancel Concerts, People Cancel Concerts

  1. Another unfortunate case of union-busting ideology taking firm precedence before any respect for the excellence of musical artistry of the Atlanta Symphony. Does this have a better outlook than Minnesota? Doesn’t look promising.

  2. Drew, I feel like I’m experiencing deja vu. What did ASO management do during the lockout in Minnesota? It looks like they took notes and now they’re just doing and saying what MOA management did and said. This is so discouraging for music lovers!!!

  3. In light of the ASO musicians’ quick agreement to huge concessions in 2012, I am not surprised that the ASO board and management returned to the lockout strategy. I hope the musicians stand strong this time and achieve a better outcome.

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