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Symphony musicians look at next steps after the board of directors dissolves the San Antonio Symphony

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Last week, the board of directors of the Symphony Society of San Antonio announced the dissolution of the San Antonio Symphony. After years of funding deficits, a lost season and stalled labor contract negotiations with the musicians’ union, the board initiated steps to file for bankruptcy.

The last few years have been tumultuous for the symphony and its musicians. Existing financial stress played a factor in the lost 2020-2021 season due to pandemic quarantine measures. A $2.4 million federal aid package helped keep members employed, but the influx of cash was only a temporary solution.

At the start of the 2021-2022 season, management proposed wage cuts and reduced schedules to stay financially afloat. The musicians of the symphony initiated a strike in response to the restrictive contract and reduced compensation.

Contract negotiations halted in April after management and the musicians failed to come to a consensus.

The 83-year-old symphony is now shuttered again, but the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony have continued to hold concerts and are driven to move beyond this now soured relationship with management.

What is next for the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony? Will the city or county step in to fund the San Antonio Symphony? How are other professional orchestras organizing their funding?

Does San Antonio need a symphony? What happens if this institution is not revived? What is the most sustainable model to fund and operate a professional symphony in a major metro area?

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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, June 23.

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