The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra announced two more concert cancellations Wednesday as a strike by its musicians continues.
Although performances with the Texas Ballet Theater this weekend in Dallas will go on as scheduled, thanks to an arrangement made with the striking musicians, symphony management said it is canceling the “Music of David Bowie” concert on Sept. 24 and a free concert at Arborlawn United Methodist Church on Sept. 25. The church concert was to feature the symphony’s 2016 young artist competition winner, cellist Sai Sai Ding.
“It is with deep regret that we had to cancel these additional concerts,” said symphony president Amy Adkins. “We recognize the inconvenience and disappointment this causes our patrons, and we appreciate their patience during this difficult period.”
The symphony said it will notify those who have tickets for the David Bowie concert regarding options for their unused tickets.
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Musicians went on strike last week after rejecting a proposed contract that included pay cuts and higher costs for health insurance. The symphony canceled its 2016-2017 season opening concerts last weekend as a result.
Union president Stewart Williams said the musicians have informed management that they are willing to reopen negotiations, but no meetings are scheduled at this time. He added that he felt it was premature to cancel another set of concerts when contract talks could continue.
Williams said the union was trying to discuss options with Performing Arts Fort Worth to possibly perform free concerts scheduled for children next week.
“I have sent some emails over to Performing Arts Fort Worth in hopes that if the Fort Worth Symphony did cancel, we might be able to help out to keep those performances going, just like we were able to help with Texas Ballet Theater,” Williams said.
However, in a statement Wednesday night, Dione Kennedy, president and CEO of Performing Arts Fort Worth, said that the school concerts scheduled for Sept. 21-23 indeed have been cancelled.
“This labor dispute is between the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association and the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147,” she said. “Performing Arts Fort Worth owns and operates Bass Performance Hall and is not a party to the labor dispute. Beyond this, Performing Arts Fort Worth has no additional comment.”
The two sides have been in contract talks for over 14 months since the musicians’ existing contract expired. Represented by the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147, the union has asked for pay raises and a strategic plan to grow the symphony’s budget. Symphony management has said it is operating with a $700,000 annual deficit and cannot afford to increase the musicians compensation.
Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @andreaahles