PBT announced in early August that it would replace the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra with recorded music for its 2005-06 season.
The musicians, joined by supporters and fellow musicians from New York, Michigan, and Illinois, also passed out cards that read, "We need your voice. If you believe that the orchestra is an essential part of the art of ballet, help us to restore live music to PBT," and directed interested patrons to the web site www.KeepPBTMusicLive.com.
Cynthia Anderson, the musicians' spokesperson, said, "We believe the move to canned music will lead to the further diminishment and ultimate demise of the Pittsburgh Ballet, as its dancer eventually leave to dance for other companies where live music enables them the full range of their artistic expression."
Jeanne Gleason, PBT board president, said of the support-gathering movement, "There is no one who wants music restored more than me and the board of directors. It has been a difficult, long, and trying process to get to this point. We made the only decision that would keep the dancers on stage."
The company's decision to eliminate the orchestra was part of a set of cost-cutting measures designed to cut its budget by $1 million, to $6.4 million. Using recorded music instead of live music will save PBT an estimated $500,000.
The musicians have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the company of failure to bargain before deciding to cut live music.