The following address was delivered by incoming ASOPA President Paul Murphy to the ASO Board on December 10, 2012.
We welcome your efforts to repair the bridges, so carefully built over the last 16 years, that were so quickly and severely damaged this year. There is much to be done both within the ASO and the broader Woodruff Arts Center organization. The Atlanta symphony Orchestra is this institution’s greatest asset and not the great liability we have been portrayed to be. We all must be diligent and demand accountability from every area of those entrusted to keep our Symphony fiscally healthy. The startling revelation of the embezzlement of nearly $1.5 million from the WAC pains and angers us all – but especially the musicians, only weeks after making enormous and unprecedented concessions in negotiations. Exacerbating the situation, the WAC brushed off that figure as a minimal fraction, though so much less than that – trumpeted as insuperably huge by the same WAC – would have made a decent and humane musicians’ settlement possible.
The musicians were told at the bargaining table as well as privately by Stanley and other senior management that large donations would be forthcoming as long as the musicians accepted the tremendous concessions demanded of us. Millions of dollars were waiting in the wings but the musicians had to go first. These promises worked in part to induce us to agree to a plainly unacceptable contract. We are now almost in the middle of December and have heard no news until this meeting today about any major gift of any kind. The hope is that what we were told were not just empty promises but words backed up with concrete fact. We are deeply troubled by the lack of development in this critical area of the ASO. It is heartening to hear of new monies coming in thanks to the Delta Initiative. I assure you the musicians will be the loudest to applaud any and all successes in this area.