Orchestra Management, Players Continue Talks

by Gabe Bullard on November 16, 2010

The administration and musicians of the Louisville Orchestra met Tuesday to continue talks about how to keep the ensemble solvent. An agreement may still be weeks, or months, away, and it could come through outside help.

The musicians issued a statement Monday saying they were told their current paycheck would be their last unless they agreed to several cuts that would save the orchestra $2 million. According to the statement, the proposed reductions would drop the number of players from 71 to 55 and shrink the orchestra’s season from 37 weeks to 31 weeks. The remaining players would then take a pay cut, dropping some salaries below 30 thousand dollars.

The musicians say they offered to help with new fundraising options, but were told cuts were necessary. They also say they attempted to bring Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser to Louisville. Kaiser is renowned for his ability to bring arts groups back from the brink of bankruptcy. Kaiser’s staff confirmed that he was asked to come to Louisville in November, but could not due to a scheduling conflict.

Sources say the talks Tuesday did not produce any new agreements. The negotiators reportedly discussed bringing Kaiser to Louisville in early December, but no decision was reached.

Orchestra management has declined to comment on the talks, citing an agreement between administrators and musicians to not negotiate through the press.

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