The Seattle Symphony musicians aren’t the only ones contemplating a strike. Out in Ohio, the musicians have terminated their month-to-month agreement with management and may go on strike. The situation is similar to the one shaping up in Seattle.
The musicians, in response, released their own statement — their first on the matter — noting a willingness to bargain but also expressing reservations about the administration’s demands, which they said stand to diminish the orchestra’s stature and jeopardize the ability to attract and retain the best players.
Currently, the Cleveland Orchestra is ranked seventh in the nation in terms of musician compensation, behind the orchestras of Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A cut of 10 percent would put Cleveland behind Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.
But from the management perspective, the problem is clear. Highlighted in the orchestra’s announcement were several figures from the 2009 annual report, including a 20 percent decline in giving, a 5 percent decline in ticket sales and a $27 million loss to the value of the endowment.