We would like to introduce you to the musicians of the Allentown Symphony. We are residents of the Lehigh Valley, New York, Philadelphia, and many other surrounding communities. While you most often hear us in concerts as a group, please let us introduce ourselves to you as individual musicians.
We make our livings playing music, and most often also teach music in a public school, university, music conservatory, or private studio.
The Allentown Symphony is a “regional orchestra.” That is, while it employs professional musicians on a regular basis, it does not provide full time work like the major orchestras of Philadelphia, New York or Chicago. In order to make a living wage these musicians must perform in multiple orchestras or teach as well.
The musicians of the Allentown Symphony, represented by Local 45 of the American Federation of Musicians, have been in contract negotiations with the management of the Allentown Symphony since July of 2011 and have performed without a new contract since that time.
The musicians of the Allentown Symphony are the lowest paid “per service” musicians in the region which includes the Reading Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Delaware Symphony. These orchestras are all significant regional organizations with which many or our musicians also perform.
The musicians of the ASO have negotiated in good faith for nearly two years and feel that it is past time for the ASO management to do the same.
It is only a matter of time before some of the fine musicians to whom we are introducing you may have to stop playing for the Allentown Symphony in order to seek employment with orchestras who value their participation in a manner commensurate with their training, skills and loyalty to the organization. As much as we love to play and participate with the Allentown Symphony, many of our finest musicians cannot afford to turn down more lucrative employment to continue to perform in Miller Symphony Hall.
ASO management has told us that patrons, contributors and supporters would rather donate to “bricks and mortar” than to the musicians who make the music that they come to hear. Over the last few years the ASO has spent millions on improving the hall, with almost $800,000 on the lobby, concession stand and ladies room but not one dime on increasing salaries.
We want our concert goers to attend ASO events in a comfortable facility that is conducive to the musical experience we hope they enjoy, but we do not believe that they would prefer to do so at the expense of the music they come to hear, or the musicians who make that music.