Tuesday, September 23, 2008

...but the music has been saved

The Columbus Symphony announced yesterday that the Musicians and management have come to an agreement over the labor dispute.

Columbus Dispatch Article

The Musicians have taken "painful" cuts, but the music has been saved--as well as maintaining 53 full-time musicians. Now the only question is what the true cost of the cuts will be, and what impact they will have on the future and quality of the orchestra.

Briefly, the results of the agreement include:

> A roughly 25% pay cut
> A reduced season (from 46 to 38 weeks)
> Some performances will be held in Vets Memorial as opposed to the Ohio Theatre

...but the music has been saved.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can we really save the music?

To all Proud Supporters of OUR Columbus Symphony Orchestra,

Please read this:

> Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Columbus Symphony is on the brink: can Central Ohio save the music?" (7/28)

Donald Rosenberg asks Central Ohioans whether or not we can save the music? I think that Mr. Rosenberg has said it. Save the MUSIC. It is about the art. Lately many have been caught up in who/what did this/that. It is up to us as a proud, collective group to step up and show support for the MUSIC and OUR Orchestra this coming weekend for the final "Light Classics" summer pops concert featuring the well-loved Maestro Junichi Hirokami.

Also playing will be the Ohio State University Marching Band! A packed, enthusiastic audience would highly encourage and energize the Musicians and Maestro of OUR Columbus Symphony!!

Remember to come early for tailgating!! The theme of the evening is "Brats! Buckeyes! & Brahms!?"

Details can be found at www.symphonycolumbus.com and www.mcsconcerts.org

Sunday, July 27, 2008

MANY NEW websites and articles!

As the summer continues to go on, there has been a change in the wind with the Musicians of the Columbus Symphony. The musicians have banded together to play concerts for their dedicated audiences during the summer...as many of you all know and have attended to show your support!! The musicians thank you for your ardent support and attendance.

This coming weekend is the final concert of the summer classics series.

Click here to sign up for news released directly from the CSO Musicians.

Amidst the multiple websites that have appeared and disappeared, here are the important ones to watch closely:

> Columbus Symphony Orchestra Committee official website
> Musicians of the Columbus Symphony Concerts page
> Symphony Columbus website
> Symphony Columbus blog page

Below is a fairly comprehensive list of summertime articles and updates:

> New York Times: "Columbus Symphony Cancels Part of Season" (7/26)
> AP News Flash: "Contact clashh puts fate of Ohio symphony in doubt" (7/26)
> The Other Paper: "Siciliani: Save CSO to protect my legacy" (7/24)
> Columbus Business First: "Symphony to fall silent in October, November" (7/24)
> Columbus Dispatch: "Maestro to lead concert as gift to community" (7/24)
> Columbus Dispatch: "Symphony cancels fall concerts" (7/2)
> Sticks and Drones: "Sticking it in the (buck)eye!...." (7/21)
> Columbus Local News: "Mozart's Bakery to feed symphony supporters" (7/21)
> Sticks and Drones: "Pull up the Roots" (7/16)
> Symphony Columbus Musicians post: "Withholding of Funding by Major Donors a Referendum" (7/19)
> Adaptistration: "Beadle? Pot? Kettle?" (7/16)
> Columbus Dispatch: "Musicians reject offer, dismissal of Hirokami" (7/15)
> Columbus Dispatch: "CSO musicians fill void wiht music, more concerts" (7/11)
> Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Columbus Symphony fights on" (7/8)
> 610 WTVN Christy Chatman: "Columbus Symphony, Management Look for Harmony" (7/7)
> Columbus Dispatch: "Musicians to hold own version of summer pops" (7/3)
> Adaptistration: "Knowing When to Quit" (6/23)
> The Wall Street Journal: "Goodbye Columbus Symphony" (6/19)
> Kenneth Woods "A View from the Podium": Columbus Symphony (6/16)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Saying goodbye to SymphonySTRONG

Email sent to the membership of the now-shutdown organization of SymphonySTRONG:

Following last night's SOLD OUT, Mozart Concert, Symphony Strong is joining with other groups working to support the effort to maintain and grow our symphony. The new organization will be called Symphony Columbus, and its website is www.symphonycolumbus.com. Symphony Columbus has a 501(c)3 Foundation that will be called "Save the Symphony." Your continued support is very important in the effort to maintain (in Columbus) the wonderful group of musicians who make up the orchestra. You can keep up to date on all the activities by going to www.symphonycolumbus.com.

CSO management may have cancelled the fall season, but we are going to have plenty of music for you to enjoy. The next major concert will be on Saturday, July 26th at Vets Memorial, and Maestro Alessandro Siciliani will conduct. Following this event, we will have a third Vets Memorial on August 2nd with Maestro Junichi Hirokami conducting and The Ohio State University Marching Band participating.

Looking ahead in August, we will have a unique performance in a unique venue. Musicians of the orchestra will perform for the first time in a wonderful, natural amphitheater - Ash Cave at Hocking Hills. This beautiful, natural wonder will be the backdrop for a concert on August 17th.

Complete details can be found on the website, along with some very interesting breaking news and comments from other supporters. Please bookmark or add www.symphonycolumbus.com to your favorites.

The old www.symphonystrong.com website will be taken down shortly.

Show your support with one of the Symphony Columbus tee shirts, available at the concerts

Best regards,
Jim Mitchell

Many thanks to the volunteers of the SymphonySTRONG organization for their help and dedication!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Musicians of the CSO concerts this week!!

The Musicians of the Columbus Symphony have created a concert series this summer and the details can be found on their NEW WEBSITE!

Of important note are the concerts this coming weekend--Friday and Saturday July 11 and 12.

Family Pops Concert: Dance, Dance, Dance!!

July 11 @ 7:30 pm
Coffman Amphitheater
Dublin Community Recreation Center, Dublin

The Musicians of the Columbus Symphony
John Deliman, conductor
Music TBA from the stage

Tickets (cash only) at the gate:
$10 for adults
$5 for children under 12

Light Classics Concert Series: Orchestra Spectacular!

July 12 @ 7:30 pm
Veterans Memorial Auditorium

The Musicians of the Columbus Symphony
Jaime Morales-Matos, Conductor
Music TBA onstage

$20 at the door
$20 online (+ $2 per ticket service charge)

All details can be found on the NEW MCS website!

Monday, June 16, 2008

News Updates

> Adaptistration Article: "Things that Make You Go 'Buh?' " (6/9)
> Abu Bratsche Article: "What's the opposite of 'accountability'?" (6/8)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Museum garden site for concerts" (6/8)
> Adaptistration Article: "Sticks and Drones: New at the Columbus Dispatch: First Date Announcements" (6/6)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Union: Board can't end contract" (6/6)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008



OSU The Lantern Article: "Campus group supports C-bus Symphony" (5/29)
WOSU Christopher Purdy radio clip: Kids with PASSION! Concert (5/26)

The list of recent news articles:

> "Non Divisi" Blog Article from Frank Almond (MS): "Columbus' Last Voyage?" (6/2)
> Columbus Dispatch photo collection of the Final CSO Concert (6/1)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Ending on uncertain note" (6/1)
> Columbus Dispatch: "Favorite son-in-law steps up for symphony" (5/29)
> WOSU Radio News clip: "GCAC Funding for Columbus Symphony 'Tabled'" (5/27)
> WOSU Radio News clip: "Columbus Symphony board and players hold more talks but gain little ground" (5/27)
> WKSU Radio Newsclip: "Building the classical music audience of the future" (5/28)
> WOSU Open Line Radio Program: "The Future of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra" (5/22)
> Adaptistration Article: "Why Do They Keep Opening Their Mouths" (5/27)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Symphony's Pain Hurts Others" (5/25)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kids with PASSION Loud and Clear!

Please remember to kindly attend the event Kids with PASSION Loud and Clear this coming Sunday from 3-5:30pm. The venue is Capital University Mees Hall.

This concert is headed up by Annie Shmookler and is a fundraiser for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra!

Various children and teen musical groups from around the area will be performing to show their support of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

The SymphonySTRONG orange wristbands and the "PASSION" t-shirts will be on sale at the fundraiser.

CSO Musicians Press Conference

Here are the links to the CSO Musicians Press Conference on YouTube:

Part 1 Bruce Ridge, Chair of ICSOM

Part 2 Dan LaMacchia

Part 3 CSO Chair James Akins and Doug Fisher

Part 4

Part 5

News Updates

News, video, and audio clip updates:

> Columbus Dispatch article: "Symphony musicians propose salary cut" (5/21)
> Columbus Dispatch article: "Symphony musicians offer to giv e up $500,000 in salaries" (5/20)
> Columbus Business First: "Symphony musicians propose 7% salary cut to save season" (5/20)
> WOSU News clip (audio & text): "Columbus Symphony musicians make budget proposal hoping to save Orchestra" (5/20)
> ABC 6 Newsvideo: "Save the Symphony" (5/20)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Columbus Symphony Musicians Announce Press Release


1585 BETHEL RD., SUITE 100-COLUMBUS, OHIO 43220-2010 – PHONE: (614) 457-6371 – FAX: 457-6372

Douglas J. Fisher LOCAL 103 A.F. OF M.

President Chartered Jan. 1, 1900

Vaughn F. Wiester


Michael Buccicone



May 19, 2008

Columbus Symphony Musicians to Present Financial Plan and Make Offer to Resume Talks with the Board and Management

The Musicians of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra invite the media to attend a press conference on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 1:30PM in the Olentangy and Buckeye Conference Room on the first floor of the Hilton Garden Inn located at 3232 Olentangy River Road in Columbus.

At that time Musician representatives will present and distribute copies of a new Financial Plan which will allow the orchestra to continue operations within the budget limitations established by the board and corporate leadership. The Musicians will also announce their willingness to resume talks with the board and management to discuss the new Financial Plan. Details will be announced at the press conference.

Also speaking will be Mr. Bruce Ridge, Chair of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), an organization which represents the top 50 orchestras in the United States www.icsom.org who will provide a national perspective of the present situation and discuss the economic benefits of maintaining a high quality symphony orchestra in central Ohio.

Mr. Daniel LaMacchia, a certified financial planner with Wachovia Securities, will also present and distribute an independent report of the Orchestra’s recent financial history.

For further information please contact Douglas Fisher at 614-783-3684 or Jim Akins at 614-361-1481. Also, please visit www.symphonymusicians.com, the official website of the CSO Musicians for additional information.

Monday, May 19, 2008

News updates

News updates below:

> New York Times article: "An Orchestra's Woes" (5/19)
> Minnesota Public Radio's classical music weblog: "A Tale of Two Orchestras" (5/18)
> Abu Bratsche article: "The answer to the problems of the orchestra industry" (5/18)
> Columbus Dispatch feature: "Preparation, providence lie behind opening note" (5/17)
> Columbus Dispatch article: "Waiting for an encore" (5/17)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Loss of funding

A sad article was printed today...

> Columbus Dispatch article: "Arts council plans to skip symphony" (5/16)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A LOT of updates!

There have been many, many articles and clips about the CSO recently. My apologies for not posting them sooner.

CSO Principal Clarinetist, David Thomas, runs a blog here with many, many interesting articles.

News Items:

> Columbus Dispatch article: "Public Efforts springing up to aid symphony" (5/15)
> Abu Bratsche article: "Why?" (5/15)
> Unscripted | The Charleston City Paper article: " **** the Board of Directors" (5/15) [Warning: Adult language contained in this article]
> Adaptistration article: "Columbus Around the Blogosphere" (5/15)
> Abu Bratsche article: "Symphonicide" (5/13)
> Columbus Dispatch Editorial: "'Stimulate' orchestra out of financial rut" (5/14)
> Adaptistration article: "Columbus' Smoking Gun" (5/13)
> The Cincinnati Enquirer article: "Columbus news troubles orchestra officials" (5/12)
> Adaptistration Article: "It's the Board, Stupid" (5/12)
> Columbus Dispatch Editorial: "Columbus Symphony can't survive unless musicians agree to live within its means" (5/11)
> New York Times Article: "Columbus Orchestra May Suspend Activities" (5/10)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Symphony musicians, board aren't giving up yet" (5/10)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Sales strong for season's end" (5/10)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "String Theory: Yo-Yo Ma..." (5/10)
> Adaptistration article: "Columbus Board Prepares To Throw In The Towel" (5/9)
> WOSU Radio: "Columbus Symphony suspends summer operations" (5/8)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Symphony will shut down for summer with future in doubt" (5/8)
> Official CSO Board press release announcing CSO shutdown effective June 1, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Remember! May 5: Michael Davis Memorial Concert

Please remember to attend the Memorial Concert for longtime CSO concertmaster and friend of the Orchestra, Michael Davis.

The concert is being held in the Ohio State University School of Music Weigel Hall at 8pm tomorrow, Monday, May 5.

Feature by the Dispatch on a True Supporter of the CSO

Truly an inspiring person.

Columbus Dispatch Article: "Angel in the wings" (5/3)

Friday, May 2, 2008

News updates for this week

Here are the news articles and sound bytes for the past week or so!

> The Other Paper Article: "Playing for Posterity" (5/1)
> WOSU NPR News: "Despite Season Saving Gift, CSO & Musicians Far Apart" (4/29)
> WOSU "Arts Unscripted": Christopher Purdy and Barbara Zuck discuss the CSO (5/1)
> Adaptistration Article: "Columbus Season to Continue Unabated" (4/29)
> The OSU Lantern Article: "Cutbacks at Columbus Orchestra hurt OSU" (4/29)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Gift lets symphony finish season, but after that ..." (4/29)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Gift will keep symphony afloat" (4/28)
> Adaptistration Article: "Columbus Board Responds to Ratification Vote" (4/28)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Contract Rejection May Stop the Music" (4/26)
> WOSU Radio: "Musicians Reject CSO's "Final Offer"" (4/25)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Orchestra musicians reject contract offer" (4/25)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Statement of the Board and Management of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra




APRIL, 28, 2008


Robert “Buzz” Trafford 614/227-2149

Tony Beadle 614/221-4897

As a result of an extraordinary individual gift by a Board member the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (“CSO”) expects to have the financial resources necessary to complete it’s Classical and Pops seasons, the final performance of which will occur on May 31, 2008. Without this extraordinary individual gift, the CSO would have been forced to suspend operations on April 30, 2008.

By completing its May concerts, the CSO will fulfill its commitments to its loyal subscribers and to all who have purchased tickets to the Classical and Pops seasons.

We look forward to May as a celebration of the CSO and its music. The May concerts include four time Grammy Award winner Michael Feinstein on May 2, a string ensemble on May 7, a weekend series with Maestro Junichi Hirokami on May 10 and 11, the CSO’s Gala celebration with renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma on May 15, and the final performances of the season with Marvin Hamlisch on May 30 and 31. The CSO will perform a total of 7 concerts during May (schedule attached). Tickets remain available for all of these concerts.

The Board wants to stress that while the CSO believes it has the resources to complete its Classical and Pops seasons, the fundamental financial challenge facing the CSO has not in any way been solved. Rather, by continuing the season through May the CSO achieves the important goal of keeping our commitments to our subscribers and ticket purchasers, but defers to another day the inevitable suspension of operations due to a lack of funds. Whether that day comes at the conclusion of May or the end of August will be determined soon.

The Board’s decision follows an analysis of its current financial situation and reasonably anticipated ticket revenue and contributions during the month of May. The CSO is counting on those who support the CSO to purchase tickets to its May performances and to demonstrate their passion through their financial support.

The CSO enjoys generous support from this community, both corporate and individual. The CSO’s musicians give our community far too little credit for the support it provides. The CSO receives more support, by a wide margin, than any other performing arts organization and is in the top tier (if not first) in contributed revenue among all of Central Ohio’s cultural institutions.

It is clear from the experience of recent years that the level of support around which the CSO must build responsible budgets is $9.5 million. Indeed, for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007, the CSO’ s revenues, exclusive of emergency, non-recurring funding and donated goods and services (“in-kind” contributions), were $9.4 million, $9.1 million and $9.1 million, respectively. Against this history, and in today’s economy, the Board does not believe it would be fiscally responsible to base a budget on assumed revenue of more than $9.5 mm. The fundamental disagreement between the union and the CSO is the union’s insistence that any new agreement be based on a revenue assumption significantly higher than $9.5 million.

There is substantial support among our donors for the CSO and for the strategic plan the Board announced in January. But, those who provide large portions of the CSO’s support have expressed considerable concern that the CSO will not able to achieve the cost reductions necessary to balance our budget in the next fiscal year. Our largest and most reliable supporters want a successful orchestra. They have in the past and are prepared in the future to provide substantial financial assistance. But, in return, they make a reasonable request – they insist upon an orchestra that lives within the means of support available from our community.

What is clear at this point is that absent a new labor agreement with the union that permits the CSO to operate within its available resources there can be no 2008-2009 season. Unless and until the CSO regains the confidence of those who stand ready to support it, there is no prospect of raising an endowment or taking other steps to strengthen the CSO and increase the compensation of its musicians.

The CSO is prepared to continue discussions with the union at any time for the purpose of trying to secure both the short and long term future of our community’s symphony orchestra.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

THE Carpe Diem String Quartet

Charles Wetherbee, violin
Robert Firdman, violinKorine Fujiwara, violaWendy Morton, cello

The above members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra , comprise the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Here they are shown performing the Theme to The Simpsons.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

From David Thomas: Letter to the Citizens of Columbus

“The mission of the Columbus Symphony is to develop and foster the art of orchestral music at the highest possible artistic level. Through its concerts, outreach, and educational activities, it is a community resource that is a major component of the quality of life in Central Ohio.” -From the Columbus Symphony Management Strategic Plan

“…The board, musicians and community must work together (because) Columbus deserves and needs this orchestra,”
-Anne Melvin, Columbus Symphony Trustee, Columbus Dispatch, 1/18/08

“The foundation of the ARTS in Columbus is the Symphony. It’s the treasure that supports the Opera, the Ballet, and educational programs for children in the public schools.” -Joann Foucht, Women’s Association of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Dispatch, 1/28/08

“Last night’s brilliant performance by this maestro and this orchestra made believers out of everyone: The Hirokami Era has begun.”
-Barbara Zuck, Columbus Dispatch

“…In six years I can make this orchestra one of the best.” -Junichi Hirokami, NY Times, 4/12/08

“…Business leaders and artists throughout the nation (are) watching Columbus. They… hope to see a demonstration of confidence in the future of this city.” -Bruce Ridge, Chair, International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Letter to Editor, Columbus Dispatch, 2/6/08

To the Citizens and Leadership of Columbus-

The world is watching Columbus as the Symphony Board of Trustees and Management request large cuts from an orchestra whose members are performing with world class quality. The orchestra took 11% pay cuts three years ago, now restored, to help shore up sagging financial support following a lengthy period without an Artistic or Executive Director. Better results were promised. Now management insists on 40% salary cuts to stabilize the organization.

A gem of cultural pride, loved by Columbus audiences, the Symphony as we know it would not survive these cuts.

The people of Greater Columbus Community know and appreciate the exemplary quality of the Symphony. A flood of supportive letters to the Dispatch has demonstrated this. Our fine Orchestra contributes to the vitality of downtown, both economically and culturally. Thousands of people attend regular concerts, enriched by the unique experience of live classical music. Thousands more benefit from the outreach and education fostered by the members of the Symphony.

In the past decade, total non-musician expenses have increased an average of 7% per year, while total musician expenses increased only 4% per year. In fact, the percentage for musician costs actually went down from 47% of the total budget in the ‘99-’00 season to 39% in ‘05-’06. Musician costs for the ‘06-’07 season were around 42%, at the low end of the national average of 40-50%. (*-source footnote)

The current total musician expenses amount to about $5.4 million out of a $12.4 million budget.* Why not maintain the heart of the orchestra, its musicians, and create a satisfactory budget built on that? Untapped gold mines of volunteers are eager to help. Grassroots organizations can generate untold support and revenue. Several burgeoning efforts are already proving their value. As a community let’s move into action and make it happen.

The Greater Columbus Community accomplishes great things with the right leadership. We need the right leadership to step forward and rescue this gem for our city.

“Across the country, exciting things are happening for symphony orchestras. …attendance is up, downloads are rising faster than for any other musical genre, …and the New York Times is proclaiming that this could be “the Golden Age for Classical Music.” - Bruce Ridge, Chair, ICSOM

I encourage you to be a part of the exciting things that are happening for symphony orchestras. Together we can make this happen.

David H Thomas
Principal Clarinet
Columbus Symphony Orchestra

“I still want to believe there’s a solution out there.”
Tony Beadle, Executive Director, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Dispatch, 3/14/08

(* Sources- Total income and expense figures from audit reports provided by the CSO; Total musician expense figures from expense statements provided by the CSO)

News Article

A sad prospect is at hand:

Columbus Dispatch Article: "Contract Rejection May Stop the Music" (4/26)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Columbus Symphony Musicians Unanimously Vote to Reject Board's "Final Offer"


April 25, 2008

Columbus Symphony Musicians Unanimously Vote to Reject Board's "Final Offer"
Last night, the members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra unanimously voted by secret
ballot to reject the CSO Board's "final offer" for a new contract which would take effect next
season. The offer called for a 40% annual salary cut from all 53 Full-Time Musicians with no
restoration in additional years. The current minimum annual salary is $55,200. Under the
Board's proposal it would be slashed to $33,000. The Board's offer would also require
Musicians to pay 30% of their monthly health insurance premiums, up to $480 per month for
Musicians with family coverage. In addition, the wages per rehearsal and concert for part
time Musicians would be reduced from $150 to $100. The value of these cuts from the
Musician's pockets would be approximately $1.4 million for next season.

Previously the Board rejected the Musician's proposal to accept a 6.5% annual salary cut, to
reduce monthly health insurance payments in return, but to share in future premium
increases, and to leave vacant any non-principal chair during long term leaves of absence
throughout the contract. Depending on the final number of vacancies, this would result in
savings next season of approximately $500,000. Three years ago, the Musicians agreed to an
11% annual salary cut which resulted in total savings over the past two and a half years of
$1.3 million.

Early in the negotiation process, the Musicians proposed that a third party consultant who
specializes in orchestra management be selected by mutual agreement and brought in to
evaluate the situation and to make recommendations to both the Board and the Musicians.

The Board immediately rejected that proposal insisting that no assistance was needed to
resolve matters. They later offered to accept the assistance of a consultant, but only in the
future after a new contract is reached.

The Board has told the Musicians that there may not be enough money to continue
operations beyond the end of this month without agreement on a new contract for next
season. Because the Board's proposal was presented as a "final offer", they will not consider
any further proposals from the Musicians.

Douglas Fisher, President of the Central Ohio Federation of Musicians, Local 103 AFM, the
union which represents the CSO Musicians stated, "We are disappointed that the Board has
rejected immediate assistance from an orchestra management consultant to advise both
them and the Musicians. The longer this crisis continues the more Musicians we will lose. So
far we have lost four high-profile Musicians to other full time jobs next season and that
number will likely increase. It has taken decades for this small group of Musicians to develop
into the high quality ensemble that it is today. Because there are only 53 full time Musicians,
losing even a small number of them has a profound effect on the orchestra's quality."

Jim Akins, Chair of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Committee and Principal Tuba said,
"Key economic data even in today's economy proves that central Ohio has the means to
support this orchestra at an even higher level and that our region is as strong economically as
the four major cities which surround it. Yet the orchestra's annual budget is two to three
times smaller than the orchestras in those cities. Central Ohio deserves an orchestra of high
quality and I hope that those who care will step up and refuse to let it die".

For further information please contact Douglas Fisher at 614-783-3684 or Jim Akins at 614-
361-1481. Also, please visit www.symphonymusicians.com, the official website of the CSO Musicians, for detailed financial information on the CSO and how it compares to surrounding cities.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Belated Thoughts On Columbus"

Due to the negotiation press black-out, there isn't much new material coming out regularly. Here is one piece that has just surfaced:

Adaptistration Article: "Some Belated Thoughts On Columbus" (4/23)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The GRIM reality

Here is an article from the Columbus Dispatch which shocked arts leaders in Columbus and was very revealing.

* Columbus Dispatch Article: "Grim reality: Perception is that city lacks in arts" (4/7)

Below are some images from the article which are of some note (all images are Copyright Columbus Dispatch):

News Updates

Here are the recent updates from the past week:

* The Other Paper: Promoting Passion--SymphonyStrong.com (4/3)
* ThisWeek Marysville: "Marysville restaurant pledges to help 'Save the Symphony'" (4/4)
* Columbus Dispatch Article: "Symphony deserves more than polite hand" (4/6)
* Sticks and Drones (Adaptistration): "Columbus: Chicken Soup for the Symphony (and it's not a gimmick!)" (4/7)
* Columbus Dispatch Article: "Criticisms of orchestra board prompt issue-by-issue review" (4/9)
* New York Times: "Symphony Plays Through Its Troubles" (4/12)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two articles

Here are two recently published articles pertaining to the Columbus Symphony:

Columbus Dispatch Letter-to-the-editor: "New blood on board could save orchestra" (4/1)
Adaptistration: "Flanagan, Shreveport, and The CBC Radio Orchestra" (4/1)

It is interesting to note the critique in the above-mentioned Adaptistration article that the author asserts that some people are using bankruptcy as a marketing tool. The author re-states his claim this way...

"The Columbus Symphony: To Cure You We Must Kill You."

Remember that there are performances of Mahler 2 this Saturday evening at 8p and Sunday at 3p!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A new forum for discussion

Hello fellow supporters,

There is another new resource for you all to use. A new website called CrowdsMatter has started a community discussion page on "Columbus Symphony Orchestra Issues."

Click here to join and start giving input!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Back-logged news updates

A new grassroots group is forming that is passionate about the support and defense of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. It is called SymphonyStrong. Visit www.symphonystrong.com to sign up for news updates. The site officially goes live on April 1!

Recently published here and abroad about the Columbus Symphony:

> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Could it really die?" (3/14)
> Columbus Dispatch Talkback Article: "Balance a top goal in symphony stories" (3/15)
> Abu Bratsche: "On to plan B in Columbus" (3/15)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Cacophony could drown out symphony" (3/16)
> Adaptistration: "In Columbus, The War Of The Rhetoric Begins" (3/17)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Musicians, board agree to start discussing future" (3/18)
> Adaptistration: "Dynamic Consequences Taking Shape In Columbus" (3/18)
> Adaptistration: "Columbus Travels Around the Blogosphere" (3/19)
> Columbus Dispatch Letter-to-the-editor: "Symphony board manipulating opinion" (3/20)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Negotiations under way" (3/21)
> Columbus Dispatch Editorial: "Do or die: Symphony must find way to live within smaller budget or see funding disappear" (3/22)
> Columbus Dispatch Article: "Reaching a low note" (3/24)
> Columbus Dispatch Editorial: "Like NetJets, CSO is worth keeping in city" (3/24)
> Columbus Dispatch Editorial: "Orchestra's board needs an overhaul" (3/24)
> Adaptistration: "As Negotiations Continue, Columbus Eyes Cash Flow" (3/24)

I apologize to the readers for this mass update. But there is the news. I would highly encourage readers to check out the CSO Symphony Musicians news page for commentary/rebuttals on some of the articles listed here.

Thanks for your support of the Columbus Symphony!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

From David Thomas to CSO Supporters

Friends, things are not going well. I beg your attention for a few minutes while I report the "unreported" events surrounding the arts crisis in Columbus. These are my opinions and not the official view of our committee representatives.

I am convinced our orchestra, the Columbus Symphony, which has been built to world class level in the past 56 years, will be decimated by the insidious restructuring "plan" (fire 22 and cut salary 30%) forcefully proposed by the board of trustees and management. Many musicians (including myself) will leave, seeking better work elsewhere. Lives and careers will be ruined. The music will be gone.

Recently, there have been several articles in the local newspaper announcing the city and county's intentions (Thrive in Five) to set aside funds for arts organizations in Columbus. Unfortunately those promised funds have not changed the tenor of the board's official attitude toward the symphony. In fact, I believe they give false hope to those who support the orchestra. Truth is, there has been no indication that the "plan" will be altered or discarded.

Two other articles have appeared in the Dispatch, one announcing next season's programs and another about last week's live recording of our concerts for the Denon record label. While this publicity helps us, the musicians' perspective and comments were shut out from both articles. (in fact, none of our official press releases have been printed since this all began) I believe several quotes from those articles need to be isolated to demonstrate the damage they are causing.

In the article about next season's programs, the first thing Ex. Dir. Tony Beadle is quoted saying is, "The orchestra may go on strike..." There has been no mention of a strike by our representatives. Why would Mr. Beadle open with such an inflammatory and presumptuous phrase in the public press? What are his intentions?

In another article, last week's recording project was deemed a "vanity" event by Mr. Beadle (which FYI was not organized by management, but by principal tuba Jim Akins with support from Gene D'Angelo). To brand as "vain" a recording by a well known international label is absurd. Recordings build and inspire GREATER support for an orchestra. If he considers this beneficial publicity to be excess fat, what are Mr. Beadle's real goals for developing the symphony? Who is directing him?

Columbus is larger and growing faster than Cleveland, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. Of those cities, Columbus' per capita income is highest. Yet musicians' salaries are already 30-50% lower than the orchestras in those cities. How embarrassing that "the powers that be" in the Capitol of Ohio seem unable to justify an orchestra appropriate to its size and wealth! Columbus deserves a real concert hall and a better vision for its orchestra's growth, not the dismembering of its largest arts institution.

In yesterday's article about county support for the arts there is this quote by Commissioner Marilyn Brown, "We so often talk about Columbus as a sports community. Columbus is arts, too". That is empty rhetoric. Last year I attended a play in Pittsburgh, which has a thriving theater district with numerous productions offered on a Tuesday evening. Columbus barely squeaks for the arts by comparison. Let's face that fact and act upon it, rather than thinking smaller and smaller."

We have 15 organizations with budgets over $500,000," Bill Conner, head of CAPA, said in yesterday's Dispatch. Wow! That's such a stress on a huge city which spends untold hundreds of millions per year on sports. Mr. Connor continues, "This isn't about bailing out the symphony. This is about providing support for our arts and cultural community." If supporting a great orchestra in our city is "bailing it out", then we need to ask Mr. Connor why he's in arts management.

Last season, the orchestra reluctantly gave up three weeks of precious Classical Series to allow management to "repackage" those weeks into something more marketable. Those weeks were feebly renamed and then even more feebly marketed, and now have been canceled. Three weeks of classical music are for all intents and purposes lost, to you and to us. Their only function now, as empty paid weeks, is fodder to argue for cutting our contractual weeks permanently.

There have been viable rumors of plans to shut down the orchestra April 1st (April Fools Day!) Additionally, there are hints that cheaper, lower quality Eastern European orchestras will be brought in to "replace" our lost weeks. I heard one of these groups last year here in Columbus. The quality was far inferior to the CSO, which lives and works here.

Next season's schedule, which usually starts in mid-September, is not slated to begin until October. CAPA and the stagehands who work for them are itching to dump the CSO for more lucrative Broadway shows.

What can you do? A lot. Please, spread the word. Forward this letter to everyone. Write and phone your city and state representatives, specifically Gov. Strickland and Mayor Coleman. Call for the resignation of those who claim to represent and support this orchestra and Columbus by proposing this defeatist plan. Call for the Dispatch to fairly report the musicians' statements.

More information can be found at symphonymusicians.com and a new site to be officially launched April 1, symphonystrong.com. Add your voice. Let's prove grassroots networking can change things.

David Thomas,
Principal Clarinet
Your Columbus Symphony

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Symphony STRONG!

The new "grassroots initiative" website for the Columbus Symphony has been announced.

It is http://www.symphonystrong.com/. It is set to go live on April 1.

Please check it often and become a member!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thoughts and condolences to Maestro Hirokami and family

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Maestro Junichi Hirokami's father passed away this past week.

The thoughts and prayers of the community are with him and his family as he mourns the loss of his father.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Subscriptions to the blog now available

You can subscribe to updates on this blog now via the icon on the top rich corner which says "Subscribe in a reader"!

Whenever a new post is made, it will instantly be delivered to a reader of your choice.

Great Performances

Columbus Dispatch article "Players at their best for recording" highlights the fine job Maestro Hirokami and the musicians of the CSO did this past weekend.

The new CD was recorded by the Denon label.


To read more about the recording and to see pictures, vist this address!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A violinist that will be missed greatly

The retired concertmaster of the CSO, Michael Davis, has recently passed away. Click here to read about this violinist who will be greatly missed.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fire the musicians...then what?

Adaptistration: "In Columbus, They're Playing Like There's No Tomorrow" (2/28)

In essence what the article says is this: if the drastic cuts are enacted, there is no strategy following this move.

CSO to record concert!

The concert this coming weekend of the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5, Romeo and Juliet, and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue will be recorded.

“Although the Musicians will be paid far less than usual for this recording, we want to memorialize the artistic summit achieved by the CSO, which has taken decades to reach, before it may be destroyed next season by controlling members of the CSO Board and Executive Director Tony Beadle, who are publicly advocating the firing of 22 Musicians at the end of this summer”, said Douglas Fisher, a member of the orchestra and President of the Central Ohio Federation of Musicians, the Musician’s Union.

Much of the funding "will be personally underwritten by former CSO Board Chair Gene D’Angelo."

To read the complete story, check out the Symphony Musician's news page!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mid-week update

Here's a mid-week update:

> WOSU Arts Unscripted episode
> Columbus Dispatch Article: 'Schedule to be launched in fall with extra-spatial guest' (2/24)
> Columbus Symphony Musicians website says that the CSO website is currently not selling subscriptions to the next season...they are still selling full subscriptions to this year!??

Friday, February 22, 2008

News updates!


Here are the points of interest that have surfaced this week:

1. There is a CSO concert series this weekend. Featured is:
> Elgar: Introduction and Allegro
> Britten: Serenade for Tenor and Horn (Gene Standley, horn)
> Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3 "Organ"

Please come out and support the CSO even thought the weather is a bit nasty!!

2. Articles of note (no pun intended!):
> Better Business Bureau 'Reliability Report' of the CSO
> Columbus Dispatch Web-only letters to the editor (2/11)
> Columbus Dispatch Web-only letters to the editor (2/14)
> Adaptistration: Examining Columbus' Master Agreement Part 2
> Cincinnati Enquirer Article 'CSO [Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra] searches for leader' (2/21)

Thanks to the many who are proudly supporting our Columbus Symphony Orchestra!

CSO Benefit Concert: Success!

Many thanks from the musicians and the event staff of "S.O.S. Save Our Symphony!" Benefit Recital to the many who showed up on Wednesday evening!

There was a great turnout in support of the CSO. For those of you who came and were unable to donate or if you were unable to come at all, PMA is still accepting donations via mail.

Thanks once again!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekly news update

Here's the latest scoop...

Benefit Recital | New Links and Info | Concert this week

First, PLEASE DON'T FORGET that there is a benefit recital for the CSO being held this Wednesday at 8pm in The OSU School of Music's Weigel Hall. Admission to this chamber music concert is free, but donations are highly encouraged (all proceeds will go to the CSO)!!!

Second, here is the new articles I have found:

> American Federation of Musicians President's letter to the Dispatch (2/9)
> Adaptistration interview with Tony Beadle (2/12)
> Adaptistration interview about Columbus' Master Agreement (2/13)
> Check out the CSO Musician's webpage and read there in detail a letter from the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians.

Third, there is a CSO concert this week (in addition to the benefit recital!)!!

Click here to find details of the concert.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Weekend updates

The flurry of activity continues:

- Four Columbus Dispatch Web-only Letters (2/7)
- Columbus Dispatch Article - City ready to boost the arts (2/8)
- An informative Columbus Dispatch Web-only letter to the editor (2/8) from a long-time member of the Nashville Symphony--one of the "comparison" orchestras.
- Columbus Dispatch Article - Management has failed orchestra (2/8)
- Columbus Dispatch "Now You're Talking" Article (2/9) - Symphony concerts receive fair share of publicity

* As always, check out http://www.symphonymusicians.com/ for the musician's own commentary and information!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Another Benefit Concert!!

There will be a chamber music benefit concert for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra on February 20, 2008 at the Ohio State University School of Music, Weigel Auditorium. The concert starts at 8pm and attendance is free--although donations will be accepted and are encouraged!

This benefit concert has been nicknamed S.O.S! -- "Save Our Symphony!" -- and is being hosted by the Brothers and Sisters of PMA, SAI, KKY, and TBS. There is a way to find out more about it and rsvp for it by searching under its nickname -- S.O.S.! "Save Our Symphony!" on Facebook.

There will be a variety of chamber ensembles performing classic chamber music literature. It is sure to be a great evening and a great way to support the Columbus Symphony Orchestra through your attendance and donations!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New news!

New information to be apprised of:

Columbus Dispatch Web-letters on 2/4 (1 here)
Columbus Dispatch Web-letters on 2/5 (many here)
Columbus Dispatch (2/6) - Cartoon shows city's backward thinking

Please do check out the letter to the Columbus Dispatch and the CSO Musicians on their website. The entry date is February 6, 2008!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Swell of CSO Support

The Facebook group "Proud Supporters of the Columbus Symphony" has, as of 11:30pm, reached 1,000 members. Many thanks to the many who have joined to show support for the fine Columbus Symphony musicians!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New information!

Hello fellow PROUD CSO supporters! Two new items of business:

1. New & updated links and information (all on the right as well under 'Recently published by others'):
> The CSO Musician's homepage (go into their news section)
> Columbus Dispatch editorials
- Familiar game plan could help orchestra (editorial)
- Web-only letters to the editor (1/29 unpublished in paper)
- Web-only letters to the editor (1/30 unpublished in paper)
- City must do its best to help orchestra (editorial)
> Hoping for an encore (see the CSO musicians news page for additional insight)
> CSO Website Observations

2. Remember to listen to Fred Andrle's Open Line radio show on WOSU 820am Monday, February 4 at 11:00AM. The future of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the importance of orchestras to the Central Ohio community will be discussed. Discussing this topic will be Ohio State University School of Music Director of Orchestras Marshall Haddock, Ohio Wesleyan University English and Humanities Professor Emeritus Lyman Leathers, Evening Standard music commentator Norman Lebrecht, and Columbus Dispatch music critic Barbara Zuck.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A BIG day today!

Lots of news to report to you, fellow CSO supporters!!

First, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra musicians have released their first official statement on their website about the proposed plan. Click here to to read their official position and reaction to the current situation.

Second, I wanted to highlight some of the links on the right under the heading "Recently Posted by Others." The most recent additions are the Columbus Dispatch Editorial on 1/28 and the post on the Slipped Disc blog post (from London!). The Dispatch Editorial was written in support of the board's plan. The editorial in the Dispatch fails to take into account several repercussions, most noticeably what would happen if the Music Director decides to leave because of the cuts.

Third, I heard from Mr. Christopher Purdy today that Fred Andrle will discuss the CSO on his OPEN LINE program Monday, February 4 @ 11 a.m. on WOSU 820 AM. With him will be guests Barbara Zuck, Marshall Haddock, Lyman Leathers and from London, Norman Lebrecht (author of the Slipped Disc blog mentioned above).

Overall, today there was a lot announced. Many thanks to the many who have emailed me content pertinent to the situation. Please keep it coming so that all may stay informed!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Benefit Concert for the CSO announced!

Hello fellow proud supporters!

I heard from an OSU student who is working very hard and is in the process of creating a benefit concert in which all proceeds will go to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

The date is tentatively set for May 25. The location is TBA as of right now.

Her website will launch shortly providing details about the benefit concert.

I have heard from the her that volunteers will be needed to:
+ answer phones
+ be ushers who will pass out programs, etc.
+ potential other jobs yet to be announced

Please keep these areas in mind and sign up on the new website which is coming. I will post about the new site and link to it as well, when it is available.

This is a great way to support the Columbus Symphony Orchestra!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orchestra Comparisons!

As I have been browsing around, I found some information that showed pretty clearly that the city of Columbus does not compare to cities such as Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, and Charlotte as some have said.

What the city of Columbus does compare to in wealth and size are the cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. What is shocking is how the average income per household is greater here in Columbus than in the other four cities. The orchestra sizes of each of these comparable cities is close to double the size of ours, and the endowment for the orchestras of these major cities is unbelievably higher than ours.

The information from the data I read came from Sperling's BestCity Comparisons and the orchestra financial and musician roster size came from the American Federation of Musicians. Reputable sources all around.

Seeing information like this should make us wonder why our orchestra isn't similar?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

From YOU! - Comments of support to the Orchestra

In response to several emails, I am now posting with an area to send comments of support to the orchestra. It is great to let our CSO orchestra members know what a fine job they are doing and that they have our fullest support.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From YOU! - Possible Solutions

The Columbus Dispatch has done a superb job establishing the fact that most Columbus citizens believe that the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is needed as an essential fine arts establishment in our community.

But what now? So we have come to the conclusion that the CSO should stay. But what is the next step in helping our musician friends?

This post was created to be commented on by YOU to offer ideas on what should be done to save the CSO. Please click on the comments button below in this post to add to the discussion!

We ask that you keep all comments courteous and constructive and we look forward to hearing from the community!

CSO Financial Information

Here is the site for the actual financial information of the Columbus Symphony.

Please read discerningly through this information so that you can make an informed opinion.

(Note: this link is provided in the right-hand side as well for future reference!)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Users of Facebook

If you are a user of Facebook, then search for the group "Proud Supporters of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra" and join that group to connect with other people who share a love of the orchestra!

As always, support YOUR Columbus Symphony Orchestra!!

Under Construction

This blog is being created to provide a place for the community to provide ideas and dicsussion about the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. As part of our goal, we would like to provide pertinent content about this situation to the community. All "official" communication from the orchestra members is being posted to the CSO Musicians website (the musicians are aware of this site as well). The content that will be provided here will be able to be commented on by all individuals, and input WILL BE NEEDED BY THE COMMUNITY!!! Thank you for supporting YOUR orchestra!