Baltimore Symphony Musicians Are ‘Stunned’ After Concerts Are Canceled

For months, the management of the financially struggling Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has tried to negotiate cutting the number of weeks it pays its musicians to 40 weeks from 52. And its players have resisted, arguing that such a move would weaken the quality of the ensemble.

On Thursday afternoon the orchestra’s management announced that it was unilaterally canceling its summer season — which was to have begun with a new music festival on June 19.

So the atmosphere was charged when the orchestra gathered in the evening to play their scheduled concert, Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto, at its hall in Baltimore.

As the concert began, Brian Prechtl, a percussionist who is one of the chairmen of the players’ committee, strode to the front of the stage and announced that the musicians had been shocked that afternoon to learn of the cancellation — and said that the musicians had been told that they would not be paid after June 16. The audience responded with loud boos.

“We are stunned and grieve for our beloved B.S.O.,” Mr. Prechtl said. “We will be making music with even more passion and purpose tonight and for as long as our management keeps the lights on and the doors unlocked.”

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