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99 Problems: ASO in Contract Disputes Following 2014 Season, Symphonies Across the Nation Hit Turbulence

by Ian Holubiak   Aug 27, 2014 10:01 AM EDT

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Performing symphonies have had their fair share of debacles this year--and The Metropolitan Opera's problems, while having been solved for now, may have marched to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's doorstep.

The ASO has been fighting a losing battle the last eight months with disagreements of pay and health care cuts for musicians--which effectively have scaled back the size of the orchestra.

In a report at Arts Atlanta, the management's main priority is to secure the financial health of the orchestra. After a deficit running five years in a row, the ASO's debt accumulated a debt of $23 million.

Facing a projected $5 million annual budget deficit, management forced musicians into accepting a 15 percent cut in salary, amounting to a minimum of $27,000 over the last two years.

The ASO dropped the number of full-time performing musicians from 95 to 88 and reduced the season from 52 to 42 weeks. And for the first time in 30 plus years, ASO no longer keeps a full year's schedule.

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