Even record attendance wouldn’t turn around the BSO. Other cities’ orchestras show what could.

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Roughly Speaking: Newsroom Edition, episode 25:


A bitter labor dispute between the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its management has led to the likely postponement of the group’s fall season.

Citing deep fiscal problems, the BSO’s leadership canceled the musicians’ summer concert series in May and attempted to shorten to the group’s season from 52 weeks to 40 weeks, cutting pay in the process. Though the group had struggled with its finances for years, musicians had fought to keep it a year-round orchestra.


But after a summer-long work stoppage and public back-and-forths with management, musicians rejected a pair of contract proposals that would have returned them to Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to open the 2019-20 season Saturday. The BSO’s future appears more uncertain than ever, as no further negotiations have been scheduled.

On this episode, Baltimore Sun arts reporter Mary Carole McCauley joins Newsroom Edition host Pamela Wood for a review of the conflict between the state’s largest cultural institution and the people tasked with overseeing them, as well as the BSO’s uncertain future.

Related links:

Why is it so hard to keep an orchestra afloat? The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is not alone in its woes.

Shaky BSO finances leave endowment chiefs skittish about forking over cash, pondering orchestra’s successor

Audit reveals state funds, shortened season may not be enough to save Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

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