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Philharmonic cancels programming following musicians rejection of its latest proposal

Brittany Smith
Fort Wayne Philharmonic musicians picket in front of the Embassy theater on Friday, January 6, 2023. Musicians have been on strike since December 8.

Fort Wayne Philharmonic musicians overwhelmingly voted ‘no’ on management’s most recent proposal to end the musician strike, leading management to cancel concerts through February.

Philharmonic management had called this offer their “best and final,” but musicians spokesperson Campbell MacDonald said that’s a label management chose.

He called the current proposal “injurious” to the quality of the orchestra.

“It would alter long-standing procedures that have established partnerships between musicians and management," MacDonald said. "And we find it unacceptable.”

While musicians have said they agree to management’s latest wage proposal, the parties continue to disagree on cuts to musicians and a greater handle on musicians' free time.

Musicians had been working on an expired contract since September, before announcing their strike on Dec. 8.

Since then, musicians have put on a number of free concerts in place of the canceled holiday concerts.

MacDonald said they have more in the works.

Musicians have received healthcare benefits during the strike, but the board voted in December to end those benefits on February 1 as a cost-saving measure.

The full list of canceled events includes concert dates and community engagement events;

Jan. 28 – Yefim Bronfman Plays Rachmaninoff

Feb. 4 – Ann Hampton Callaway Sings The Streisand Songbook

Feb. 2 – Jackson R. Lehman YMCA, Stories in Music: Where the Wild Things Are

Feb. 7 – Warsaw Public Library, Stories in Music: Peter & the Wolf

Feb. 8 – Parkview Family YMCA, Stories in Music: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Feb. 9 – Jorgensen Family YMCA, Stories in Music: Where the Wild Things Are

Feb. 9 – Freimann Quartet Plays Fanny Mendelssohn

Feb. 11 – Johnny Appleseed Goes to the Symphony

Feb. 12 – Freimann Quartet Plays Fanny Mendelssohn

Feb. 18 – Beethoven Violin Concerto

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.