Louisville Orchestra

From Boston Musicians’ Association, Local 9-535

Nov. 2, 2011
Dear BMA Members:

I want to inform you of a despicable situation that has developed against the musicians of the Louisville Symphony.

The orchestra’s management has distributed a notice to music schools as well as to the public throughout the country to replace their entire orchestra with non-union musicians.

This morning the Board of Directors of the Boston Musicians’ Association voted unanimously to condemn this travesty and request that you spread the word among fellow musicians and their students.

Below is an alert sent by the International Conference of Opera and Symphony Musicians providing additional details. As a point of information, Louisville Orchestra CEO is Rob Birman, who ran the Pro Arte Orchestra here a few years ago.

Additional info and words of support can be sent to the Louisville musicians at lomusicians.org

To view a heart-felt video clip Click here.

An attack like this is an attack on all musicians.

Pat Hollenbeck


Dear friends and colleagues,


As we all know, the musicians of the Louisville Orchestra have been engaged in a lengthy negotiation with their management. They have repeatedly been threatened by their board with being replaced by other musicians. And now, after a final ultimatum, the Louisville Orchestra, Inc. has begun recruiting replacement musicians.


Both the Louisville Orchestra, Inc. and the Kentucky Opera have been placed on the American Federation of Musicians’ (AFM) International Unfair List, and accepting work from these two groups could generate fines and penalties.

But it is not just the Unfair List that should deter anyone from accepting this work–the fact is that it would simply be wrong to do so.

Any musician accepting such work would not be serving the cause of art in America, or serving their career and family. Musicians accepting work as replacements would be taking food out of the mouths of fellow musicians, as well as depriving them and their children of health insurance.

The members of ICSOM, ROPA, and OCSM comprise a great number of orchestral musicians in North America, and we have thousands of students. Please educate your students, and the leaders at your music schools, of the importance of this effort. If the egregious and despicable actions of Louisville Orchestra CEO Rob Birman, and Board Chair Chuck Maisch were to succeed, then no orchestra in North America would be safe from such attacks. Any musician accepting such work would be building a career on quick sand.

Please post this message in your studios, and please send it to your students everywhere, as well as the colleagues in your orchestra who might not be subscribed to the ICSOM, ROPA, or OCSM news lists. Post it backstage at work. Post it on your Facebook pages. Spread the message everywhere that the musicians of ICSOM, ROPA, and OCSM will always stand together

The symphonic musicians of North America perform as a united network of friends. It is crucial that we stand together on this issue, not only for the musicians of Louisville, but for the future of musicians everywhere.

In solidarity,

Bruce Ridge
ICSOM Chairman

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