Symphony still on strike, concerts canceled

UPDATE: Concerts are now canceled through Nov. 6.

No David Bowie. No Arborlawn United Methodist Church concert. No Rachmaninoff.

With the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra still on strike, concerts scheduled between Sept. 24 and Oct. 2 have been canceled.

Orchestra musicians have been on strike since Sept. 8 due to unsuccessful negotiations with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association (FWSOA) to settle on a contract agreement. The performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony scheduled for Sept. 9-11 was the first to be canceled.

Patrons with tickets to the canceled concerts can get their tickets exchanged for a gift certificate or future concert, converted to a donation or refunded, according to a news release.

Musicians and the FWSOA have spent more than a year working out a new contract, which includes cuts in musicians’ salaries. According to a news release, the most recent proposal involved a four-year contract – during the first two years, paid weeks would be reduced from 46 to 43, then later increase to 44 in the third and fourth years. A 6.5 percent pay cut would occur in the first year, then wages would increase in the following three years. Once the contract hits its fourth year, musicians would be earning 3.5 percent more than what they’re making currently, according to the release.

Orchestra musicians rejected the offer, however, and decided to go on strike.

The orchestra has been experiencing a financial deficit in recent years, with the FWSOA projecting an approximately $700,000 deficit in its $12 million budget for current and future seasons, according to the release.

“We are disheartened that the musicians rejected the tentative agreement that was reached in good faith, reversed course and initiated a strike,” FWSOA President and CEO Amy Adkins said in a statement. “There is no doubt that we are in the delicate position of wanting to provide our musicians with pay increases while also being limited by our financial constraints.”