The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and its musicians agreed to a new contract Monday that will get the 57-year-old symphony back to performing at the Ohio Theatre.

In a joint statement, the orchestra board and the union representing its 53 full-time musicians said the three-year contract cuts wages and benefits by about $1.3 million per year. The contract also shortens the season from 46 weeks to 31 in the first year and 38 weeks thereafter.

“We musicians tend to call this a lifeboat contract,” said Jim Akins, orchestra committee chairman. “While it’s certainly not a model contract by any stretch, it’s better than treading water.”

Read more here.

I honestly thought that they would suffer the same fate as San Jose Symphony. So while they might not be happy with the cutbacks, they can be happy they didn’t have to endure what we did, that being the death of a symphony with no possibility of resurrection.

It’s true we now have Symphony Silicon Valley, but the amount of work isn’t anywhere close to the job we had before. Am I grateful for SSV? You betcha. But it isn’t what we had.

So congratulations to Columbus and best wishes for a great year!


  1. I have mixed feelings about the Columbus settlement — mostly negative.

    It was my experience in the Sacramento Symphony (another state-capitol orchestra) that once you make cuts, the losses are never restored.

    I hope that the management of the Columbus Symphony takes this latest crisis as a CHALLENGE to raise more money and make the orchestra more viable — NOT as an excuse for their lack of management skills. They will have to do more than operate under a reduced budget to regain their losses.

    I fear that things will not improve all that much, with the same management and board — UNLESS they see this as a dramatic wake-up call, necessitating a more proactive, positive approach. Obviously, something needs to change, and I am not convinced that Management “has what it takes”.

    We shall see.

  2. I understand your POV, Cameron. But I’m just pondering; would I rather still have SJS with less income and services, or was the complete and final death a better thing? I think I’d prefer the former, although maybe not. It’s a tough call.