ASO Season to Start on Thursday

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra players’ union ratified a new contract on Saturday, ending their two-month lockout. 

Perhaps fitting for this…ode to joy… Beethoven’s 9th will be the first performance of the season.

In a joint statement from the Woodruff Arts Center and ASO Players’ Association, it was announced that the four-year contract will have high-deductible insurance plan which musicians will contribute a larger amount towards, a six percent pay increase and a commitment to grow the orchestra from its year one size of 77 musicians to 84 in four year’s time.

“We are thrilled we have been able to reach agreement with the musicians,” said Virginia A. Hepner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodruff Arts Center. “Over the last several difficult weeks of negotiations, both sides recognized that we all share the same goals and aspirations – we all want a world class orchestra that the musicians and city are proud of and one that has long-term financial stability. We believe this new agreement is one that will allow us to achieve those goals.”

“This agreement brings the restoration of a harmonious relationship within everyone’s grasp based on work we must do together to restore missing positions in the Orchestra while stabilizing and advancing the financial position of the Woodruff Arts Center and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,” said Paul Murphy, ASO Associate Principal Violist and President of the Musicians’ negotiating team.

8 comments

  1. MattMD says:

    I’m so uncouth that I have yet to attend an ASO event.

    Hell, I used to play the cello back in the day. It wasn’t a bad way to meet girls, incidentally. I could have put my game up against your average football player any day of the week.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      This unnecessary lockout uncovered some rather questionable dealings by the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC) board, which apparently pulls the strings for all the organizations under roof. Bad management of debt, assets, endowment funds all point to the WAC board. WAC board members appear to make cushy deals for themselves by being vendors to the WAC or selling land assets of the WAC or building the Verizon Amphitheatre or investing donations/endowment funds or giving away money to other board connected non-profits ($1 million). They managed to blame the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) musicians on a rather small deficit in the grand scheme of the overall WAC. The musicians salaries were only 25% of the $37 Million annual ASO budget, yet somehow they bore the brunt of an annual $2 million shortfall. Why not cut some non-essential staff or streamline marketing? The genie is out of the bottle and the faithful donors are now very leary to give anything the the organizations at the WAC (Atlanta Symphony, Alliance Theatre, High Museum of Art et al) after seeing potential conflicts of interest and mismanagement. The ASO may be looking for an exit strategy soon.
      http://saveoursymphonyatlanta.wordpress.com/ to follow the ongoing battle.

      • Harry says:

        The 11 highest paid WAC employees receive base compensation approaching $4 million. Cut that in half and the $2 million deficit would be covered.

      • Harry says:

        In FYE 5/41/13, fraudulent disbursements of $1,440,000 were uncovered that spanned an 8 year period. Why did the highly compensated officers/key employees need 8 years to uncover this?

        • Michael Silver says:

          There’s money to be made in non-profits! BIG MONEY.

          The musicians should really consider cutting thier ties with the Woodruff Arts Center and relocate to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Its a much nicer facility and they wouldn’t be burdened with millions in useless overhead costs.

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