And anyone else who cares!
The musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, one of the greatest professional orchestras in the Southeast (and possibly the country!) have been LOCKED OUT for the past couple of weeks. This means that all of these wonderful musicians are currently out of a job, as their contract with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Woodruff Arts Center has expired. For the past few years, management has continued to cut musicians and cut pay from this orchestra, which should be thriving in a culture- and music-filled city like Atlanta. Since the contract expired, negotiations have been in effect but to no avail, since management is acting poorly and the musicians simply cannot afford to take more cuts.
As a result of all of this, the ASO’s youth program has effectively been cut for the year, depriving hundreds of extremely talented students of the opportunity to hone their musical skills, perform in a symphony, and work along the professionals in the ASO. It has also caused the ASO’s concert season to be postponed until November. It is truly shameful that management, members of whom have been accused of taking large bonuses while the musicians suffered, can continue cutting and cutting and refusing to pay their musicians, who are the ones who make up the actual symphony!
On opening night, members of the ASO, the chorus, the youth symphony, and various supporters gathered outside the empty concert hall in protest.
If you want to show your support, please share news articles and blog posts about the situation on your social media platform of choice. You can also like “ATL Symphony Musicians” and “Save Our Symphony Atlanta” on Facebook, or follow @ATLSymphonyMusicians on Twitter. You can also head over to the musician’s website here and read about everything going on and/or donate. Their story is also starting to spread to more major news outlets, so you can read about the situation here, here, and here.
Finally, my teacher has been trying to start a trend similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Instead, it is the ASO Scale Challenge, in which you video yourself playing a scale and pass it on to other people. If they choose to play a scale, they donate $5 to the musicians, but if they do not, they donate $50. He’s really been trying to get this going, but it hasn’t caught on outside our little university bubble. Please do this and pass it on to people you know to get the awareness to spread across the country (and maybe the world?)!
As a young musician growing up in Atlanta, the ASO was always that higher beacon to live up to. The musicians were teachers and role models, and the symphony could do no wrong. Our city needs its orchestra back! The musicians need their jobs back! Please help support!