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STL Symphony Cancels Weekend Concerts

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Two concerts of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra that had been scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been cancelled because of the work stoppage.

People who have tickets to either of those shows can either get a refund or tickets to a future concert.

Meanwhile, members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra marched outside Powell Symphony Hall Wednesday to protest their latest contract offer. On Monday, the musicians' union overwhelmingly rejected the proposal, which would cut base salaries by $500 at the end of four years.

In 2002, the musicians conceded 10 weeks of their playing season and took a 15% pay cut to keep the orchestra solvent. Now, the musicians say management has locked them out.

But symphony communications director Jeff Trammel says there was a misunderstanding: "We have definitely not locked the musicians out. In fact, we invited them to a rehearsal [Wednesday] to come and rehearse and also continue to negotiate."

Musicians arriving at the hall say they found the stage door locked and auditions cancelled.

Negotiating committee chair Jan Gippo says salaries in St. Louis are $10-15,000 lower than among other symphonies. "None of the really fine players will come here for that kind of money when there are 15 to 18 orchestras above us that pay more," he said Wednesday.