More Cancellations While Negotiations Fail To Produce Deal In Chicago

On 4/18/2019, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) pulled the trigger on its latest round of cancellations. The result was the rest of April 2019 going by the wayside.

Adaptistration People 013In addition to recitals and Civic Orchestra cancellations, subscriptions concerts on April 25, 26, and 27 were cancelled.

The most recent negotiations prior to those cancellations failed to produce a new agreement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the CSOA held to its last, best, and final offer while the musicians’ offer contained what the employer defined as “minor changes.”

At this rate, it wouldn’t be startling to see the CSOA cut the rest of the of the regular season’s concert events, via either the existing drip fashion or in one large swath.

That’s when things get particularly intriguing because the work stoppage would stand a very real chance for impacting the CSO’s Ravinia Festival schedule.

We won’t go into that here but suffice to say, the CSO’s relationship with Ravinia is…complicated.

In the meantime, both sides continue to hammer away at one another in the press with the same talking points they’ve used to date.

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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