Saturday, October 4th, 2014
By Howard Pousner
Instead of making soul-stirring music to start its 70th anniversary season, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has produced mostly sour notes for the last four weeks.
The musicians were locked out by management for the second time in two years on Sept. 7 when the two sides could not reach accord on a new collective bargaining agreement, and a war of words commenced.
Management may control the purse strings, but the musicians have commandeered the social media. Constant posts and comments by the players and their supporters on their Facebook page and Tweets on their Twitter account have pushed management back on its heels. The barbs got so brutal on the ASO’s own Facebook page that management turned off commenting.
The ASO Players’ Association has issued multiple strongly worded statements to the media — accusing leaders of the ASO and its parent non-profit, the Woodruff Arts Center, of poor fund-raising, weak management and even malfeasance. Classical music blogs, some more opinion-oriented than journalistic in nature, have spread the accusations across the virtual universe. The ASO has released scattered statements of its own, usually with figures the other side immediately disputes.
A target of some of the harshest musician critiques, ASO president and CEO Stanley Romanstein, resigned on Monday, saying in a statement that he didn’t want to be an “impediment” when the sides restart negotiations.
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