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Arts and Humanities Local News

Kentucky Opera Hires Community Musicians for Next Performance

The Kentucky Opera has hired a group of community musicians to play for next weekend’s performances.

The ongoing Louisville Orchestra labor dispute has left the opera without musicians. The company seated a group of union orchestra players for November’s run of Carmen. The players were given a shorter-term version of their collective bargaining agreement with the orchestra for those performances. However, opera management says the contract was too expensive, and sought a more basic per-performance agreement two months later for a run of The Marriage of Figaro. The musicians did not agree, and the show was done with two pianos and a harpsichord in place of musicians.

Opera General Director David Roth says he had hoped to sign a per-performance deal with the union for next week’s performances of The Merry Widow, but the players declined. He says the musicians who will play next weekend come from various other sources, but are not in the union currently.

“This is a group of musicians, many of whom play in the community orchestras, from the former seminary orchestra connected to the Baptist Seminary and I believe many of them play together in the Jewish Community Center orchestra as well, or at least have from time to time,” says Roth. “Actually, some of them are former members of the Louisville Orchestra.”

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Orchestra Management Offers Binding Arbitration, Ultimatum to Musicians

The Louisville Orchestra has put another offer on the table for musicians.

The orchestra has not performed all year and the players and management remain at odds over the terms of a new contract. Today, management offered to enter binding arbitration with the musicians.

Both sides would choose a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators who would help settle remaining conflicts on the size of the orchestra, the season length, the contract length, salary, benefits and non-compete terms. The management has agreed not to cut musician pay, though a shorter season would mean less money for the players.

If the players do not accept the offer by next Friday, orchestra management says they will hire new musicians. A representative for the musicians says the group is still reviewing the offer.