BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra won’t play Saturday at the Meyerhoff for what would have been their season-opening concert after rejecting both contract offers.
Officials said it has not been canceled, but musicians said they won’t play as of now.
The BSO will, however, play a 4 p.m. concert that day that was organized by the musicians at a local church.
The Meyerhoff concert was set to begin at 8 p.m.
This week was the first scheduled week of practice for the musicians, and while the lights were on, the halls were quiet and the seats on stage were empty.
“It was a reinforcement that it is incredibly important for our musicians to come back to the stage,” said BSO President Peter Kjome.
Musicians here have been locked out of officially performing at the music venue since May.
BSO management wants to reduce the season from 52 weeks down to 40 weeks.
“While we’ve had a 52-week season for many years, we have not had 52 performance weeks,” Kjome said.
While BSO President Kjome said it offered musicians a 2.8 percent increase in base pay, they said a shortened season translates to a big cut.
The musicians have been protesting what they call a pay cut since the lockout began. They have played around the city to bring awareness to their situation.
“We don’t understand why they’re not willing to pay us for what they really do have the money for,” said Greg Mulligan, the co-chair of the Baltimore Symphony Players Committee.
Kjome urged the musicians to come back to work, but they said without a contract, it’s not happening.
“I hate this waiting game,” Mulligan said. “What we do best is not negotiating contracts, it’s playing our instruments and making people happy.”