SPCO musicians deplore offer as 'destructive'

  • Updated: October 18, 2012 - 8:25 AM

The musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, entrenched in contract talks with management, were looking to drum up public support by presenting a free concert Oct. 2 at Macalester College campus in St. Paul. Cellist Sarah Lewis warmed up before the performance.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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A statement issued Wednesday by Carole Mason-Smith, a bassoonist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and chair of the musicians' negotiating committee:

Management's offer is both disingenuous and destructive.

It fails to preserve the orchestra's artistic excellence, and it destroys this ensemble now and into the future.

Management says they care about preserving the artistic quality of the SPCO yet all of their proposals contradict that.

They want to decrease the number of musicians; they want to cut salaries by 33 %; they want to buy out the most experienced musicians; and they want to pay new musicians $50,000 per year. You cannot retain or recruit quality musicians under this model.

In addition, Management wants people who have no formal musical training to have the power to remove a musician.

We have requested from management details about the specific cost savings of their proposal - but they have refused to share those calculations - we know the dramatic impact to musicians, we want to know the economic impact to the society. So we can make an informed decision together.

A lockout is the last thing we want, but, with so much at stake, we cannot make an irresponsible decision. We're asking Management to once again look at the many concessionary offers we've made. There are other solutions. The fate of the SPCO is in their hands. 

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