The Louisville Orchestra musicians are not happy with the requests for cuts they say they were asked to take to keep the ensemble solvent. The administrators say they will not discuss the orchestra’s financial situation or details of the talks with musicians to save money, but the musicians will tell their story to opera patrons Friday. They sent the following statement:
The musicians will be delivering the positive, proactive message to patrons that they’ve attempted to deliver to their management, said the players’ negotiating committee chair, Kim Tichenor. “The musicians have offered to raise $375,000 ourselves. We’ve tried to immediately enlist the aid of Michael Kaiser, one of the nation’s top orchestra turnaround artists to come to Louisville. We have offered adjustments to contract terms. Yet every time we’ve offered a route out of our problems, our managers respond with delay or rejection.”
Instead, the orchestra’s management said the 74-year-old cultural icon could avoid bankruptcy only if the musicians agreed to cuts that would shave the number of players from 71 to 55, and the number of weeks in the season from 37 to 31. The remaining musicians would find their annual salaries cut to $28,675.
With this move, the musicians, who have had their last four contracts broken by the orchestra’s management, are turning to the public, according to Tichenor. “We’ve hoping that our friends who patronize the opera can help us convince our own managers to aspire to a higher cultural vision that will nourish all the city’s arts groups.”