Photo of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (courtesy ASO)
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players' Association has offered a proposal they hope will end the lockout threatening the upcoming symphony season.
"We believe the proposal is strong and will hopefully end all the uncertainty," trombonist Colin Williams before rehearsal Wednesday.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has been hemorrhaging money. It's $20 million in debt and without major cuts is facing an estimated $5 million budget shortfall.
That's led to some contentious, back-and-forth negotiations and the current lockout. Until a new deal is struck, the players have been facing an increasingly uncertain future; their paychecks have stopped and their health insurance has been cancelled.
The player's association has organized two benefit concerts scheduled for Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. at North Atlanta High School. The concerts are free, but donations will be accepted.
So far, management has been all but silent on the new proposal. President and CEO Stanley Romanstein released a prepared statement saying, "Conversations have been taking place between Atlanta Symphony Orchestra management and the Musicians' Union over the last few days -- because this a very precious moment in the negotiations, I am unable to discuss any further details at this time."
The ASO management previously asked the musicians to cut $2.5 million from their salaries and health care benefits.