The musicians of the San Antonio Symphony have announced that they will perform together as a group for the first time since going on strike in September.
The unofficial orchestra will perform concerts March 3-4 as part of the First Baptist Church of San Antonio’s First Fine Arts series. They will be conducted by David Cho of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.
The musicians have not played together since performing in a free public concert Sept. 18 on Main Plaza. They went on strike Sept. 27 in response to symphony management’s imposition of a new contract that would reduce the number of full-time musicians and cut wages.
As a result of the strike, the musicians have not received wages, and their associated health insurance was cut in October.
Negotiations had stalled until a new session including a federal mediator was scheduled for Feb. 14. The results of that session are unclear.
The March concert program will include Má vlast (My Country): No. 2, Vltava (Moldau) by Bedřich Smetana, Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in E flat Major for Piano and Orchestra with guest pianist Adam Golka, and the Tchaikovsky Symphony #4 in F Minor.
The musicians emphasized that the concerts are “not produced or sponsored by the Symphony Society of San Antonio,” the board that manages the orchestra.
Aaron Hufty, First Baptist’s associate pastor of worship, called the musicians a “cultural treasure” and said, “we have missed their world-class performances and are elated to be able to present them once again.”
A spokesperson for the musicians said all proceeds from the concerts will go directly to the musicians and associated production costs for the performances. Patrons are invited to make additional donations through the church or the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony, as the group of musicians affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians union Local 23 is known.