In Friday’s (1/15) Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Zachary Lewis reports, “A strike or other work stoppage is becoming increasingly likely as contract talks between the musicians and management of the Cleveland Orchestra move from the boardroom into the public realm. … A few minutes before the concert started Thursday night, the players gathered on stage, then dispersed into the audience, handing out pamphlets summarizing their position. ‘We wanted a little chance for you to meet us face to face,’ bassoonist Jonathan Sherwin said from the stage.” The article reports that on January 6, “Executive Director Gary Hanson wrote to patrons detailing management’s offer of a three-year pay deal entailing a 5 percent cut the first year, followed by a restoration in the second year and a 2.5 percent increase in the third. ‘We are asking the musicians to accept the principle of shared sacrifice that has been embraced through the organization,’ Hanson wrote. … To accept cuts now, [musicians] say, would be to ‘sacrifice’ again after a pay freeze in 2004 and the loss of a defined-benefit pension in 2006. Furthermore, they add, cuts would imperil the orchestra’s ability to attract the best players and diminish the orchestra’s global stature.” Thursday night’s program included Music Director Franz Welser-Möst leading works by Adès and Brahms.

Posted January 15, 2010