Philharmonic musicians vote against management, for ‘strike if … necessary’ in contract negotiations

The discord between the musicians of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and its management has become louder following votes at a full orchestra meeting on Sept. 12.

According to a post Monday evening linked on the “Musicians of the Lexington Philharmonic” Facebook page, the players voted at that meeting to reject management’s positions on a variety of issues the parties have been debating for more than a year. They also voted to authorize the musicians union to call a strike with 24 hours notice, “if deemed necessary,” and, “They have also overwhelmingly voted to express a lack of confidence in Mr. (Scott) Terrell as our music director,” according to a statement signed by Dave Shelton, chair of the orchestra committee.

The voting tallies post said that the statement had been sent to Philharmonic management Friday.

Philharmonic musicians and management renew their contract every four years, and have been negotiating the new contract since April 2012. The negotiations have not made news in many contract cycles, but the current stalemate became public as musicians objected to numerous management positions about the number of musicians hired for concerts, frequency of full-orchestra concerts (meaning 60 musicians or more), demotion and dismissal of musicians, selection of substitute players and a management proposed non-encroachment clause that would restrict musicians’ ability to play in orchestra-like ensembles in the Lexington area.

The voting results post described the tallies of the secret ballot vote as overwhelming if not unanimous.

In previous interviews, Philharmonic directors and board members have said the orchestra needs greater latitude to program more diverse repertoire and remain fiscally sound in challenging economic times.

The Philharmonic is slated to open its 2013-14 season at 7:30 p.m. Friday with a concert featuring violin soloist Caroline Goulding and American Symphony by composer-in-residence Adam Schoenberg, who is writing a new work the Philharmonic is scheduled to premiere early next year.

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