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Columbus Symphony (Photo: Vern Riffe Center)Although the orchestra hasn’t officially disbanded, its prognosis isn’t good. But don’t count Columbus’s classical music out yet.

The Columbus Symphony, still unable to reach an agreement with its musicians, has officially cancelled part of the upcoming season. There’s still a glimmer of hope for concerts from December, including the holiday pops, but official Columbus Symphony performances through November are definitely off the schedule. This summer’s outdoor concerts were also given the axe.

Despite mediation and telephone discussions, the musicians and management are still far apart. The Columbus Dispatch quotes the president of the board, Robert "Buzz" Trafford: "We have gone absolutely as far as we can go. Unless musicians change their position, we won’t reach an agreement."

This month (July 2008) the musicians rejected an agreement that called for sacking the orchestra’s highly regarded music director, Junichi Hirokami, and cutting 27% from the players’ salaries. The musicians’ union has filed unfair labor charges against the orchestra’s management for allegedly locking them out and failing to bargain in good faith.

Although the Columbus Symphony is shuttered for now, orchestral music has not vanished from the city. As Symphony Columbus, orchestra members have already presented two concerts in Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium this summer, and are planning additional performances. Their concert on 17 August will take place outdoors, at a natural amphitheatre in Hocking Hills’ Ash Cave.

Further Reading:

Symphony Talks Stall in The Columbus Dispatch

Goodbye, Columbus Symphony? in The Wall Street Journal

Columbus Symphony official website

Symphony Musicians

Symphony Columbus

All Columbus Symphony entries in WKSU Classical

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