ISO calls off more performances over labor battle

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The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced Sunday night that it has called off shows scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday due to its ongoing labor dispute with ISO musicians.
This will be the third weekend of the new season that the ISO has canceled. The orchestra’s management and the musicians’ union have been at odds over new contracts seeking millions of dollars in concessions. The previous agreement, signed in 2009, expired Sept. 2.

ISO managers also cut the opening weekend’s classical Beethoven and Dvorak series on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14, as well as the Time for Three and the ISO pops shows Sept. 21-23.

The ISO said it needed to call off the concerts now in order to have adequate time to notify subscribers and single-ticket purchasers.

Patrons who already purchased tickets for next weekend's performances of Mozart’s “Jupiter” symphony  have three options: They can exchange tickets for another concert, receive credit toward tickets in the future or they can donate the value of the tickets to the ISO.

Management and American Federation of Musicians Local 3 representatives are continuing to work on a deal, but the two sides have agreed to no longer publicly discuss negotiation details.

ISO management wants to reduce musician pay as much as 40 percent and cut back the group's schedule to 38 weeks. The previous contract called for musicians to perform 45.5 weeks per year for 52 weeks of pay.

ISO executives say the cuts are necessary to keep the group operating in the future because the ISO's endowment has decreased by one-third since the recession.
Musicians say such drastic cutbacks will ruin the organization.

“While we feel we are making progress in negotiations, we are disappointed that [management] has cancelled this week’s concerts because it deprives the people of Indiana of a world-class musical experience," the musician's union said in a prepared statement Sunday night. "As musicians, we want nothing more than to be on the stage playing the music we have spent years training to play."

Since being locked out Sept. 8, performers have been giving daily performances from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside of Hilbert Circle Theatre on Monument Circle. The musicians also held a sold-out benefit concert Saturday night for the ISO's Metropolitan Youth Orchestra for 850 people.

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