For the FIRST TIME in history, the ASO musicians have come away from the negotiating table with a win. After over 8 weeks of being locked out by their parent institution, the Woodruff Arts Center, the players will be back next week to play in Symphony Hall, courtesy of a ratified contract which guarantees a complement of 88 players in four years, and a pay raise.
We have all worked hard, supporting the players in what was an often daunting effort to get a fair settlement from the WAC.
Was this terrible battle was necessary? Why was it the players had to be threatened with the loss of their livelihoods as well as the compromise of their artistic reputation?
The only thing I can say is that when I look at the weeks of work and struggle, I can't fail to see the good: an orchestra with a better understanding and control of their place in the future ... two committed artistic directors willing to put their reputations on the line and tell the world of the great harm being done to the ASO ... a chorus solidly behind them, as they were two years ago ... new friends online and on the picket line; the chance to meet thousands of vocal supporters who cherish their orchestra ... a series of highly successful community concerts, which reminded us of what we were fighting for ... the chance to face a highly entrenched bureaucracy and not flinch even when they called us 'crazy'.
Next week, we will express our gratitude to friends and patrons in the best way we know how: performing the Beethoven 9 in the place where we, and our orchestra, belong together.