The MSO had threatened to cancel the concerts, from March 30 through April 6, because of fears that musicians would stage a public protest at them. The musicians, who have been playing without a contract since August 2003, have previously skipped rehearsals and worn red union t-shirts in protest of management's position.
Despite this gesture of good will, an orchestra spokesperson said in a statement, "intensive negotiations" this week failed to produce any progress toward a new contract. Management has asked musicians to accept changes in work rules in order to make touring and recording less expensive.
The MSO has been without a music director since Charles Dutoit resigned abruptly after musicians accused him of autocratic behavior. The appointment of Nagano as his successor, announced last year after more than a year of speculation that he was the orchestra's top choice, was considered a coup and was greeted with joy by musicians. He will assume the post officially in the fall of 2006.