San Francisco Symphony Musicians May Boycott China Trip

Classic Arts News   San Francisco Symphony Musicians May Boycott China Trip
The musicians of the San Francisco Symphony are considering a boycott of the orchestra's tour of China next month because of frustration with contract talks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The Chronicle obtained a memo from the musicians' negotiating committee in which it recommends that the musicians refuse to make the trip "if management fails to make an acceptable the end of the month."

The musicians' current contract expired in November. Musicians continued performing, but according to union officials, talks stalled in early December.

According to the Chronicle, management's current offer includes an increase in average salary by about $17,000 to $129,220 over three years. By comparison, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's minimum salary will reach $129,585 in 2008-09; its average salary is presumably higher.

The orchestra is scheduled to perform in Hong Kong on February 9, 10, and 11 before traveling to Shanghai on February 12. The Shanghai concert will mark the orchestra's first-ever trip to the Chinese mainland. Repertoire includes music by Ives, Dvoršk, Copland, Brahms, Mahler, and Stravinsky. Music director Michael Tilson Thomas is the conductor.

Brent Assink, the orchestra's executive director, told the Chronicle that "we believe the package we have put forward is very competitive."

The SFS musicians last went on strike in 1997, shutting down the orchestra for 67 days.

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