San Francisco Symphony Musicians Agree to Play on China Tour

Classic Arts News   San Francisco Symphony Musicians Agree to Play on China Tour
The San Francisco Symphony and its musicians have agreed that the SFS's upcoming tour of China will go forward as planned, management and union spokespersons announced today. The musicians had threatened to boycott the trip because of stalled contract talks.

In a statement, violist Dave Gaudry, a representative of the musicians, said, "During last night's negotiations, San Francisco Symphony management made considerable movement, for the first time in 11 months, toward paying the musicians at a fair level. While there is no written agreement, and some issues still remain outstanding, we feel that enough progress has been made to warrant going forward with the Asian tour."

Orchestra management, which is maintaining a news blackout during the negotiations, did not make any comment about the substance of the agreement.

The musicians have been playing without a contract since November, and they insisted earlier this week that management's proposal would leave them with lower salaries than their peers in comparable orchestras. The union negotiating committee recently recommended that the musicians refuse to make the trip "if management fails to make an acceptable the end of the month."

In his statement today, Gaudry suggested that the threat to boycott the tour had broken the stalemate between the two sides. "The solidarity of the musicians and our decision to recommend not going to the Far East were the decisive factors that ultimately forced management to move," he said.

The SFS will leave on February 6 for the tour, which includes three concerts February 9-11 in Hong Kong and a concert, the orchestra's first ever in mainland China, on February 12 in Shanghai. Music director Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct.

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