As Symphony Strike Continues, Fort Worth Patrons, Arts Leaders Reflect On Stalemate

Musicians called a strike on Sept. 8, and the orchestra has canceled all concerts through the end of this year.

By Bill ZeebleNovember 22, 2016 9:28 am| , , , ,

From KERA News

Gerald Thiel has season tickets to the Fort Worth Symphony. But he and his wife haven’t been back to Seats 5 and 6 in Row A of in Bass Performance Hall in months, after the musicians walked out.

“It’s a big loss,” Thiel says. “It’s hard to imagine loving Fort Worth without a symphony. It’s like, you talk about a city of culture, you have to conclude the performing arts. And the foundation of the performing arts is a symphony orchestra.”

‘It’s simply one of those ways we measure culture’

John Scott, music professor at the University of North Texas, looks at the situation from a global perspective.

“Look around the world, the major capitols of the world,” Scott says. “London, Paris, Rome, New York,  Philadelphia, Chicago. All of those cities have at the center of their cultural and musical life a symphony orchestra. And it’s simply one of those ways we measure culture.”

Fort Worth isn’t the only city dealing with this. The Philadelphia Orchestra quickly resolved its labor dispute in October. It took a weekend. Pittsburgh’s orchestra strike is still ongoing. Musicians there walked out after Fort Worth musicians were already on strike.

Scott thinks that’s a shame. And Austin resident Ron DeFord agrees. He routinely travels north for the orchestra’s programming and quality performances. Now, he worries about both.

“It’s a great orchestra,” DeFord says. “And I, over the years, have gotten to know so many of the musicians. And they are drifting off. If this strikes goes on and on, they’re all going to drift away.”

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