Friday, September 30, 2016


Philadelphia Orchestra on strike; gala concert canceled

Read about it here. It's long past time to weep...

On a personal note, the first time I ever heard a Mahler Symphony (it was number 1) was live and performed by this magnificent orchestra.


....Orchestras continue to fall. This story from Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh Symphony musicians go on strike, concerts canceled

Management of the venerable orchestra predicts that the combined deficit of the organization will reach $20 million (it currently sits at $11 million). The tried and true solution? Balance the books on the backs of the people making the music (aren't they the people that audiences come to hear?), to the tune (pun intended) of a 15% salary decrease. The ham-handed proposal also includes a "hard freeze" of the pension plan (replaced by a 401k for those with less than 30 years of service) and a reduction in the size of the ensemble. This sounds all too familiar.

Negotiations began in February and got nowhere, ending in the work stoppage. Ten days of effort by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (which succeeded in the Metropolitan Opera near-fiasco a year ago) failed to produce an agreement between the parties.

A story reported by Mark Kanny of Tri Total Media stated, “When new management stepped in at the Pittsburgh Symphony, we undertook a diagnostic situation assessment that caused us to realize that we are facing an imminent financial crisis. That assessment showed that, due to a combination of forces, we would run out of cash and have to close the doors in May/June 2017,” said board chairman Devin McGranahan in a prepared statement. McGranahan and president Melia Tourangeau took office in 2015. 

What combination of forces?

Despite a history dating back to 1898 (except for a 16-year lapse) and world-class conductors such as Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, Lorin Maazel, and Mariss Jansons, the management is just now figuring out that there may be a financial problem?

Interestingly enough, in one of her first interviews after arriving in Pittsburgh, Tourangeau said, “the priority is to get to a balanced budget. I feel there has been a tremendous amount of cost-cutting that has taken place. In my opinion, we have a revenue problem, not an expense problem.”
Norman Lebrecht, with whom I sometimes agree, offers this assessment, Management’s refusal to compromise clearly is ideological. New PSI Management has decided, against all evidence, that Pittsburgh somehow cannot support a world-class orchestra, and that a “new business model” is needed. This makes no sense. In 2016, the PSO’s Annual Fund hit a record; ticket sales are up; the Pittsburgh economy is dynamic; the Cultural District is thriving. This is no time for the PSI to abandon the idea that Pittsburgh deserves a world-class orchestra.

If ticket revenue is up and the Annual Fund is at record levels, show me the money.

* * * * * * * * * *

No one is budging in Fort Worth, where the orchestra has been on strike through most of September. The Star-Telegram published an incendiary editorial on September 12 and there has been no reporting of the rebuttal by the musicians (summarized here):

We (the FWSO musicians) just ask you to consider the following as you decide for yourself about fiscal responsibility. Is the FWSO Management being fiscally responsible when they:
  • Fall short on raising enough money to pay the musicians?
  • Use a contingency fund every year to cover operating costs?
  • Ignore professional advice to expand the fundraising department?
  • Have a new Vice-President of Development every year?
  • Don’t have a Strategic Plan past the year 2017?
It is obvious that CEO Amy Adkins is out of her element. Development is the most important issue facing the orchestra. The fact that Development V-Ps last an average of one year says something about management at the top.

Little has been said of Board Chair Mercedes Bass, who also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Carnegie Hall Corporation as well as Managing Director of the Board of Trustees and Executive Board of the Metropolitan Opera (to which she donated $25 million in 2006. And there's more, including a role with the Aspen Music School (member of the Advisory Board), the Aspen Institute (trustee), and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome. After divorcing state department official Francis L. Kellogg in 1988 and marrying Texas billionaire Sid Bass, that marriage ended in 2011, but the settlement left her well off.

Her Fort Worth home
(She also has residences in Colorado and New York City)
The Fort Worth concert hall her in-laws built

She could solve the orchestra's finances with a check out of her pin money account, without cutting into more high-profile gifts to a Lincoln Center opera company.

* * * * * * * * * *


Calling management's latest offer "regressive", musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra are none too happy either. Once part of the venerable "Big Five" of American ensembles (according to budget size), Philly now sits at number 8, and musician salaries continue to fall further behind their colleagues in cities like Boston. 

The contract has already expired and something (or someone) has to move. CEO Allison Vulgamore's track record is not strong (note her previous "service" in Atlanta). The 2011 bankruptcy still looms large, especially for an organization that maintained a $140 million endowment, owned (and still owns) the Academy of Music, and had no debts! Huh?

The Philadelphia Academy of Music (1857)
And nothing wrong with the acoustics

The musicians note in their September newsletter:

Although the filing in April 2011 was opposed by the musicians, the public was told that it was a necessary step and that when the Orchestra emerged from bankruptcy, things would be much better.

When the court approved the bankruptcy, the Association made wholesale changes to our pension plan. The Plan was frozen and its administration was transferred to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, a U. S. government entity. Some musicians may receive lower pensions than they would have earned under the frozen Plan. The retirement benefits which were substituted for the Plan do not guarantee the benefit level specified in the Plan. In addition, the orchestra musicians, who had voluntarily taken a wage freeze the year before, and who had donated a significant amount of money to the Association, saw their salaries reduced by more than 14 percent. The size of the orchestra was also reduced, from 106 full-time positions to 95.

The Association, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin, spent “almost $10 million in professional fees and expenses” on the bankruptcy, and paid settlements of $1.75 million to the American Federation of Musicians Pension Plan, and $1.25 million to the Philly Pops in the process.

More than five years later, Musicians hoped that the Association would view the bankruptcy as a temporary means to regroup and ultimately restore the kind of budget that is necessary to fund a major symphony orchestra, rather than as a way to downgrade the musicians' contract permanently. More than five years later, we are still waiting.

* * * * * * * * * *

Contract talks at the Pacific Symphony (budget $20 million) have halted. Musicians’ Bargaining Committee Chairperson Adam Neeley states, “The Pacific Symphony is the only professional orchestra in the United States with any significant annual budget that does not provide a weekly wage or annual guarantee of wages to its musicians.” Neeley states further, “Musicians have no predictability of their income from week to week, month to month or year to year.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Who is next?

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Riccardo Muti, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony, has never been afraid to speak his mind, even if the result could be disastrous. Norman Lebrecht (he of often vitriolic opinions) wrote of Muti's departure from La Scala in 2005:

He declared that he could no longer make music in “the atmosphere created by the insinuations, the insults, and the incomprehension.” But, said Lebrecht, He did not for one moment intend to resign. This was just a common or Covent Garden maestro huff of the kind that Muti threw last autumn when the Royal Opera House tinkered with La Scala's sets for Forza del Destino and Muti refused to conduct (ROH chief Antonio Pappano stepped in). No-one was astonished. The opera world has got used to Muti's limited vocabulary, an emotive lexicon lacking in compromise. There is only one way to work with Muti: his way.

He appears to have mellowed with age, but unabashedly says what he feels. John von Rhein reports in the Chicago Tribune: 

   Riccardo Muti is fond of quoting the early Christian theologian and philosopher St. Augustine's famous dictum about music and musicians, "Cantare amantis est" ("Singing belongs to the one who loves"). The Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director interprets the quotation more broadly: Making music belongs to the one who loves.
   That much could be said to typify the Italian conductor's career and would appear to have taken on even greater personal significance during his Indian-summer tenure in Chicago.

Speaking of the CSO's financial situation (and possibly reflecting on the increasing deficits throughout many of the nation's cultural institutions):

"You cannot maintain a great orchestra at this level if the refrain is constantly 'we have to cut this and cut that,' " he said in an interview in Chicago. (The CSO Association reported a $1.3 million operating deficit for fiscal 2015, its fifth such deficit in a row.) "In the end, that becomes demoralizing to the musicians. I am not telling everyone to just open their wallets — we must be realistic. But I would like to see everyone in the institution support this great orchestra with the same fire the musicians bring to their performances on their best nights."

The CSO may be even better than when Muti assumed the podium in 2010, a move that was unconvincing to me. Since then, the city (and the world) has revelled in the orchestra's resurgence.

The conductor said one of his top priorities this season will be to sit down with key CSO Association board members to find solutions to problems that, if left unsolved, could, in his view, undermine the institutional foundation in the years ahead. "I want to hear their opinions and share my ideas, as a musician of the world," Muti said. "Together, I hope we can do better to bring this orchestra to a position of wider appreciation for everything we do to bring bellezza (beauty) and culture to this city and the world."

In January, Muti returns to Milan for concerts with the CSO. Everything comes full circle.

Teatro Alla Scala, Milan

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Since 2007, I have been the extremely proud Music Director of the Quad City Wind Ensemble, an outstanding group of professional musicians, educators, and others for whom musical performance is a valued avocation. Members also include attorneys, business executives, and retirees. During the past four years, in particular, the quality of the ensemble has grown and the size of our audience has more than doubled.

The ensemble won the American Prize for Outstanding Performance in 2012, its conductor the award as Outstanding Wind Conductor in 2015. In 2014, the QCWE appeared in concert at the prestigious Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference. One audience member responded, "I've never before liked a Karl King march until today."

Here is our concert season (all concerts take place at Allaert Auditorium in the Galvin Fine Arts Center on the campus of St. Ambrose University).

October 23, 3:00 PM: Sweet Sixteen

We presented our first concert of "anniversaries" in 2013 and this year's program is a continuation of that idea. We celebrate the birth and passing of composers as well as those pieces having their own "birthdays" during 2016

Clifton Williams: Caccia and Chorale (1976) This piece (the composer's last) proves that Clifton Williams at the age of 53 was hitting his stride and remains (to me) his most profound work.

Vittorio Giannini (1903 - 1966): Symphony No. 3, his only work for the wind band. Great stuff. Not performed enough in the contemporary band world where there is too much focus on the new, instead of the tried and true. We'll try to rectify that.
Julius Fucik (1872 - 1916): Gigantic March. Many call Fucik the "Czech Sousa". I might have to argue that it's the other way around, given the fact that Gigantic is his opus 311! You know Fucik, in the rambunctious version of his Entry of the Gladiators (stolen by the circus). 

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983): Pampeana No. 3
II. Impetuosamente. Celebrating the Argentine great in this, the centennial of his birth, a wild depiction of dancing "competitions" among the gauchos of the plains.

John Philip Sousa: Willow Blossoms (1916) A much different kind of Sousa, bucolic in nature.

Vincent Persichetti: Turn Not Thy Face, Chorale Prelude (1966) Commissioned by the Frank Battisti and the great Ithaca (NY) High School Band, this work was composed in memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

John Barnes Chance: Variations on a Korean Folk Song (1966) Standard repertoire and deservedly so. Chance wrote so few works but all are classics.

December 11, 3:00 PM: Our Annual Holiday Concert
   Including many holiday treats, including a return of Minor Alterations!

February 26, 2017, 3:00 PM: South of the Border

Jose Moncayo/Osmon: Huapango

H. Owen Reed: La Fiesta Mexicana
   The composer's magnum opus was the result of his Guggenheim Fellowship-sponsored visit to Mexico during the late 1940s. While there, he heard Mexican music from the many different cultures that make up the country’s heritage, including Aztec, Roman Catholic, and mariachi music. He used these various ideas, often quoting them nearly verbatim, and stitched them together with elements of his own contemporary style in La Fiesta Mexicana‘s three movements.

Julie Giroux: Carnaval! 

Marcha Defensa Nacional Mexicana

Victoriano Valencia (Colombia): Fandanguillo 

Arturo Marquez/Nickel: Danzon No. 2

Saturday, May 13, 7:30 PM: Heroic Measures: A program focusing on those who, in the face of danger, combat adversity through impressive feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength, often sacrificing personal concerns for some greater good. Arthur Ashe once said, "True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."

William Walton/Noble: Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
   A musical chronicle of those brave young men who fought in the skies over Britain, saving their homeland from the onslaught of Nazi Germany. From the music for the 1942 film, The First of the Few.

Mark Camphouse: A Movement for Rosa
   In an act of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks demonstrated true heroism and started a movement that would change the landscape of America.

Richard Wagner/Whear: “Siegfried’s Funeral Music,” from Götterdämmerung

Miklos Rozsa/Hawkins: “Parade of the Charioteers,” from Ben-Hur

Eric Ewazen: A Hymn for the Lost and the Living
   A professor of composition at the Julliard School, Ewazen was several miles from the carnage of September 11. This hymn, more an elegy, offers homage to many who lost their lives (including first responders) as well as those families left behind.

Student soloist (TBA)

Stephen Melillo: David 
   David has many layers of meaning. True for all of the "storm" works, these layers have been extended to include the use of many new and fresh colors. David is a dramatic work, calling for a boy-soprano or soprano-actress who can depict David, the boy before battle!

Friday, September 16, 2016


Four years ago, the Indianapolis Symphony was embroiled in a bitter contract dispute. It ended in a lock-out.

What a difference a few years makes: the orchestra just announced a new three-year agreement (14 months early) that includes a 9.3% raise. While this is great news, players will be shouldered with additional costs of healthcare insurance. Still....

As reported in the Indianapolis Star:

“The Board of Directors is delighted that an agreement was reached 14 months in advance of the current contract expiration,” said Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Vince Caponi in a press release.

“After recent concessionary contracts, we are encouraged that the Orchestra is moving in a positive direction. We thank the ISO’s management and board for their efforts in obtaining an early agreement, and we look forward to a bright future for the ISO,” said Brian Smith, chair of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Committee.

After the bitter 2012 contract battle that led to a month-long lockout for musicians, ISO cites a string of successes, including three straight years of budget surpluses and major growth in ticket sales and fundraising.

Fort Worth needs to discover Indy's secret.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

One person making a difference

In comparing the contractual problems of the Ft. Worth Symphony and those past in Atlanta and Minneapolis (the Minnesota Orchestra), there are striking similarities: entrenched management and board-controlled media come to mind. Of course, both Atlanta and Minnesota ended in ugly and extended lockouts. However, in both cases there was a major difference.

Donald Runnicles and Robert Spano
(photo Jeff Roffman)
In Atlanta, Music Director Robert Spano AND Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles both spoke out on the side of the players. Their joint letter to the ASO management said, in part, “We ask the board and management to acknowledge the sacrifice the musicians have already made, and to examine other ways and areas to establish sustainability.” Spano went one step further in an interview with the Washington Post, "This is not a normal labor dispute. “This is a question of whether Atlanta wishes to preserve its legacy of having a great orchestra or having a minor league orchestra. It’s not a question of payroll or health care or anything else. It’s a question of: Will Atlanta remain an important, major league orchestra?"

Osmo Vanska
Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska, Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, went one step further: he resigned after that orchestra's lockout had lasted a year (it would eventually eat up 16 months). During that time, he came back to lead "The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra" in three sold-out concerts (only two were originally scheduled). When the dust had finally settled, the New York Times reported:

He (Vanska) served an ultimatum, threatening that if the lockout were not lifted in time for the current season, he would resign; as good as his word, he did. He conducted the locked-out players in concerts that they themselves organized. And he engaged in what some have called slash-and-burn tactics, dropping little verbal bombshells aimed especially at the president, Mr. Henson, essentially demanding his resignation.

Even now, he says that he and Mr. Henson “are not going to work together” in the four months that remain of Mr. Henson’s tenure. Mr. Henson said, “I will continue to collaborate with colleagues in whatever way best serves the organization in the months ahead.”

Does Mr. Vanska regret any of those tactics?

“I felt then, and the feeling is still strong,” he said, “that the orchestra needed me and I needed the orchestra.”

He finds positive aspects in the current situation: “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” More people know about the orchestra than ever did before, he said, and the players have learned some of what they can accomplish through their own resources.

“It will take time to rebuild,” Mr. Vanska said, “but it might be a surprisingly short time.”

“Maybe this had to happen to give us the idea that we must find something,” he added, “some way to work together.”

Note: Vanska returned to the helm and recently led the orchestra in a highly-touted European tour.

This is leadership, in both cases from the public face of the organization. Stakeholders outside the organization care little about Boards and budgets; they care about the music and the people making it.

As for Fort Worth Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya? Silence...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


This city ought to be able to afford its orchestra
The contract turmoil surrounding the Fort Worth Symphony has reached a new low. As previously reported here, news stories from the Star-Telegram have been slanted toward management. Now, a highly provocative editorial has appeared on those same pages:

Several very smart and dedicated people have worked for more than a year on a new labor agreement between the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association and its musicians, aiming to continue world-class symphonic music performances begun more than a century ago.

It hasn’t worked. The musicians have gone on strike, and the orchestra’s season-opening performances last weekend were canceled....

The musicians, represented by Local 72-147 of the American Federation of Musicians, are still smarting from a 13.5 percent pay cut they accepted in 2010 to help the FWSO weather the effects of the Great Recession. (Wasn't the nation in the midst of an economic comeback by 2010?)

While frequent references to that cut might help gain public sympathy, that money is gone and won’t come back.

The union negotiating committee worked with association managers and a federal negotiator to develop a new contract offer. Although the committee recommended approval, the musicians rejected it “overwhelmingly,” union representatives said.

The two sides portray the numbers differently, but the rejected four-year contract contained pay cuts in the first year followed by slight increases in later years, putting the musicians a little above their current salaries — which average $62,000 plus health benefits — by the fourth year.

It’s hard to imagine that such an offer, or something very much like it, isn’t the best the musicians can get. Still, they’ve made their position clear.

These smart and dedicated people could be talking about the end of the FWSO.

Is the editorial implying that the musicians are the "smart and dedicated people"? Management all to easily forgets that stakeholders (i.e. the butts in the seats) come to concerts to hear the music. Give them a quality product and they'll be there. Expand outreach beyond the "usual suspects" in the donor pool, and the funds will be forthcoming.

Gary Wortel

Something that is missing in this one-sided media war (circus?) is an important fact: Star-Telegram Publisher Gary Wortel is a member of the FWSO Board of Directors. So, just like we saw in Minnesota so few short years ago, the Board controls the local media......but not all of it.

The Dallas Morning News has offered a much more comprehensive look at the situation. While reiterating the company line, it has offered a different perspective from the side of the musicians themselves:

After years of cuts and irresponsibly refusing to bargain further, the future of the FWSO is now at stake. The musicians continue to call on management to return to the bargaining table in the interest of coming to an agreement and ensuring the orchestra's very existence.

We want our audiences and the citizens of Fort Worth to know how much we regret that we are forced to take this extreme step," said Julie Vinsant, a bassist and member of the musicians' negotiating committee. "We call on our management to come back to the table so that we can continue providing great music for our great city. We are very thankful for your continuing steadfast support....

Read the entire article for the whole story.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Recently I chronicled happenings in three American orchestras, noting that life was good in San Diego (with the best weather in the U.S., it would be hard to beat), rumblings were coming out of Pittsburgh, and the situation in Fort Worth? It hasn't gotten any better. Here's an update:

In Pittsburgh:

Life for symphony musicians in the City of Three Rivers (and big changes from the days of Big Steel) hasn't improved. The orchestra is stilled mired in million dollar + deficits and the orchestra's contract expired a week ago. Since then, things have seemed eerily quiet. Judging by recent history in the overall business (think Atlanta, Minnesota), this is definitely not a good sign.

Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are mired in 3rd place and the orchestra?
It is a gorgeous view, however.

In Philadelphia (what? again?)

The once-great ensemble (remember Stokowski and Ormandy) limped out of its 2011 bankruptcy proceedings with hope for the future. That hasn't happened. Peter Dobrin reports in the Inquirer, Musicians and management of the Philadelphia Orchestra Friday agreed to continue talking for an unspecified period of time beyond the end of the current labor deal, which had been set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Sept 12.

Management had offered no raise for two years and a mere one percent in each of the following three. As of now, no further negotiating sessions are scheduled, but the two sides seem amenable to a "play and talk" agreement for the immediate future. Personally, I trace the orchestra's financial problems to at least three areas:

Philadelphia's Academy of Music
  • The orchestra formerly performed in the historic Academy of Music. Frowned on for less than favorable acoustics (although Stokowski and Ormandy seemed to make them work), the flashy, new Kimmel Center was built down the street. It's important to note that the orchestra, instead of being the landlord, is now a tenant. That cannot be financially prudent in difficult times.
  • Management. The current CEO is Alison Vulgamore, she who left the Atlanta Symphony in shambles before skipping town. How does this continue to happen? Beats me.
  • The fall-out from the Eschenbach years. The orchestra took a great slide in overall quality during the music directorship of Christoph Eschenbach. The infusion of exciting conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin hasn't been enough to reverse the trend and bring back the faithful.

Fort Worth: On Strike

The musicians called management's bluff of its "last, best offer" of continued cuts and went against the recommendation of its union and went on strike at 12:30 PM Thursday. While the players seemed willing to play and talk, management (that is, out-of-her-element CEO Amy Adkins) went ahead and canceled opening-weekend concerts.

Management is also attempting a war of words in the press: The orchestra employs 65 full-time musicians with an average salary of $62,000 and health benefits. The proposed contract that musicians rejected included a significant pay cut in the first year and then small, incremental pay raises in the following three years. By the fourth year, the pay increases would have resulted in principal players being paid more than $70,000 a year. (From the Post-Telegram)

Unfortunately, this isn't true. Base salary under a new agreement would be $54K. Mentioning principal player's salaries (which are normally negotiated separately) is an unprofessional way of ingratiating the public. We pay $70K a year! Isn't that a lot of money? One has to wonder what the CEO (the former Development Director) is paid some $167K, according to the organization's most recent IRS 990 form (2014).

The basic problem is a simple one. Fort Worth has burned through at least five development VPs since Adkins (herself in that role for 11 years) in the past six years. Leadership is needed in this all-important area; the buck does stop at the top.

Interestingly enough, the Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony (under that title) are performing next weekend with the local ballet. They have contracted themselves under the terms of the former contract with the orchestra. That little bit of goodwill should go a very long way.

Coming soon: the 2016-17 Quad City Wind Ensemble Season

CORRECTION: The local newspaper is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Read more here:

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown

First, the good:

The San Diego Symphony, California's oldest at 106 years, announced a new five-year contract with its musicians. The average salary will raise from $70,000 to $80,000 over the length of the agreement. “We agreed to a contract structure,” noted CEO Martha Gilmer, “that respects the musicians of the orchestra and creates the best working atmosphere for their artistic growth while exploring new opportunities to strengthen the orchestra’s financial future. I could not be happier with the result, and feel that we have developed greater understandings that will enhance our working life together.” (reported in the San Diego Union Tribune).

While the upcoming season will be the last from Music Director Jahja Ling, the orchestra is in the midst of a worldwide search and is embarking on an ambitious plan of improvements to its outdoor concert venue.

Bayside Performance Center (foreground)

Up close

The bad:

The Pittsburgh Symphony is the second Pennsylvania orchestra (Philadelphia went through bankruptcy proceedings in 2011) to experience serious financial problems. President Malia Tourangeau tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the organization is at a "critical crossroad" after a $1.5 million deficit to close out the recent fiscal year. The orchestra's pension fund needs $10.4 million in the next five years.

The Symphony has only recently begun multi-year financial planning. “I was equally as surprised as everyone else when we did this 3-5 year projection and saw our cash obligations,” Ms. Tourangeau said. “In fact, I was a bit stunned to see what I was charged to turn around.”

AND, of course, the current contract expires on August 4. This does not bode well.

Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh

And the unknown:

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the symphony and the musicians, embroiled in a protracted labor dispute, reached a tentative contract agreement that still needs to be approved by the musicians. No details have been forthcoming.