ISO Cancels First Two Weekends Of Symphony Concerts
Symphony Society rejects latest offer from musician's union
There will be no beginning of the season for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The Indianapolis Symphony Society rejected the latest offer from the musician's union and announced Saturday it would cancel the first two weekends of performances for the coming season.
"The gap between what the musicians’ union is proposing and what is essential to economically sustain the ISO’s future is just too great," said ISO spokeswoman Jessica DiSanto in a written statement. "The union’s proposed extension would only exacerbate the ISO’s already difficult financial challenges."
The union on Friday had proposed a two-month extension of the contract that expired September 2 with a reduction in pay of 16.7 percent, a deal it said would allow the ISO's season to begin while talks on a new contract continued. "We are stunned and saddened that the Society refused our offer and cancelled these concerts, which ultimately punishes the people of Indiana by depriving them of a world class musical experience," said Richard Graef, chairman of the ISO musicians negotiating committee in a statement.
No new talks are scheduled, and the union's statement says it has proposed 15 dates between September 15 and November 8 for negotiations to resume.
Talks stalled after the union rejected the ISO's offer to reduce musician contracts from 52 to 38 weeks, reduce the size of the orchestra from 87 to 69 musicians and cut pay by around 40-percent. The Symphony Society says the cuts are necessary to stop what has been years of red ink. The union has proposed more modest cuts, but ISO officials claim they wouldn't be able to maintain all of the organization's music series under the union's plan.
The Classical Series concerts for September 14-15 were cancelled along with the Pops Series opening weekend September 21-23. DiSanto says those who had tickets to any cancelled shows can see the ISO's refund and credit policies at it's website.
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