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BSO moving backward with salary cuts for musicians

As a subscriber and a contributor to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 1977, I was extremely disheartened to learn about the most recent offer the BSO management has made to its musicians, proposing a shorter work year and a drastic cut in pay. (“BSO strikes sour note with proposed cutbacks,” Nov. 2). This is the way the BSO operated when I first started attending concerts more than 40 years ago. Since that time, I have watched with immense pride as the BSO has grown and improved to become the world-class ensemble it is today.

Under this proposal, the BSO will revert to second class status. Once the BSO loses some of its best musicians, as I understand is already happening, the orchestra will also lose the support of some of its most ardent backers, including myself. Coincidentally, I just received a letter from the BSO asking me to increase my donation for next year. Ordinarily, I would not hesitate to do so, but now I must question the veracity of supporting an organization intent on going backward.

I urge BSO management to use some imagination to make sure this catastrophe does not become reality. (“Looming schedule cuts imperil Baltimore Symphony's status as 'world class' orchestra, musicians say,” Nov. 2). What about a special fundraising campaign where all the money goes to supporting the musicians? Special benefit concerts both at the Meyerhoff and Strathmore could also raise funds. These and other ideas could help stave off the weakening of the status of the BSO, which has taken more than a half a century to achieve. At the Proms in London, I saw how far the BSO has traveled in becoming one the best orchestras in the world. Please, let’s keep it that way.

Harold Kanarek, Baltimore

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