Salary and working terms discussions at local classical music organization Orchestra Nova have “reached an impasse,” says a statement from the orchestra’s CEO Beverly Lambert. Lambert says the orchestra will go ahead with this year’s season, apparently with or without the support of the local chapter of the professional musicians’ union, American Federation of Musicians. It’s unclear from the statement how the orchestra would fill its ranks without hiring musicians from the union.

Artistic director Jung-Ho Pak posted his own statement about his philosophy in relation to the impasse:

Another incomprehensible truth for many of us who are musicians is that quality performances (in tune, nicely phrased, good ensemble, etc.) are not the only thing that our audiences desire. The public hungers for palpable passion, creativity and humanity. … If we can invent the right solution, we will be the most innovative and relevant orchestra in the country.

The conversation about compensation, union rules and trying to recruit new audiences is happening around the country. Reporter Kathy Lohr looked at the lockout at the Atlanta Symphony in a story on NPR Morning Edition on Tuesday:

“Atlanta is not the only American orchestra facing problems,” Lohr reported. “The Cleveland Orchestra’s musicians are working without a contract, and the Indianapolis Symphony has canceled concerts after contract talks broke down. Some here fear the same fate.”

San Diego’s largest classical music organization, the San Diego Symphony, is on much better financial footing than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. It exited bankruptcy and has worked its way up to a top-tier orchestra. I wrote about its finances last year.

This was also in Tuesday’s Arts Report.

I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

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Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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