Cleveland Orchestra close to strike, threatening Miami concerts

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Talks have broken down between the Cleveland Orchestra’s union and management, paving the way for a musicians’ strike to take place on January 18. That’s the day before the orchestra flies down to Miami, which would imperil the ensemble’s residency concerts at the Adrienne Arsht Center, slated to open January 22.

Writing in The New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin reports that managment has offered a three-year contract with a 5% cut the first year, a restoration of that cut the second year, and a 2.5% raise the third year. The union has offered a salary freeze for this year with no cuts.

The Cleveland Orchestra has been performing without a contract since its last agreement expired in August. Current annual base pay for the Cleveland Orchestra is $115,440, seventh among orchestras in the country.

The stalemate in Ohio reflects the broader economic situation across the country as orchestras and opera companies faced with deep losses in endowments and declining tickets sales and donations, attempt to hold the line on musician wages or get concessions.

In a statement released late Friday afternoon, Arsht Center president and CEO M. John Richard said that if the Cleveland Orchestra strikes, the center hopes to reschedule the events. If the performances are canceled, refunds will be issued. In either case, ticketholders will be notified by email or phone and an update will be posted at

Posted in News

Leave a Comment

Fri Jan 8, 2010
at 12:53 pm
No Comments