Updated 03/30/2011 06:08 AM
SSO Board votes to suspend operations
Starting Sunday, there will be no more performances by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. The board voted Tuesday night to suspend operations after failing to reach an agreement with musicians and not meeting fundraising goals. Our Iris St. Meran has more on what this will mean for the dozens of musicians who will now be out of work.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The musicians of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, dressed in their formal attire, waited Tuesday evening as the board met to decide their fate. Three hours later they learned they would soon be out of work.
SSO Interim Executive Director Paul Brooks, "The board concluded tonight that we should suspend operations effective April the 3rd, Sunday. And begin immediate procedures to lay off both musicians and staff."
The SSO has a staff of 93 people, which includes 61 core musicians and 14 contract musicians. Brooks said the suspension was based on a current debt load of five and half million dollars, no compromise with musicians and not meeting the March fundraising goal.
SSO Committee Chairman Jon Garland said, "It's almost a betrayal of the trust the community has placed in the symphony to announce a suspension of operations at this time. It was not that long ago that we had been of the understanding that the symphony had sufficient cash to survive till the end of April."
Over the past few years the SSO has seen a decrease in ticket sales and government support, so they launched a fundraising campaign earlier this year.
Monday we learned the musicians union did not accept a request for $1.2 million in givebacks in the coming year.
Last July the musicians gave $720,000 in concessions.
"Going forward, we had already proposed up to $915-thousand in concessions," Garland said, "So, I think we were optimistic the symphony board would at last meet us part of the way."
There were a number of performances scheduled after April 3rd, including one with Cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
"There will be no performances, obviously and the fact of the matter is we have run out of cash, so there will be no money available for refunds," said Brooks.
At this point it's unclear how the Orchestra will move forward in its 50th Anniversary year.
There will be a board meeting next week seeking legal counsel.