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Home » Orchestra News » Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Resigns; Lockout Continues: UPDATE

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Resigns; Lockout Continues: UPDATE


The lockout of the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) continues, as the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC)—the umbrella organization for ASO—has canceled concerts through November 8. Musicians’ paychecks have come to a stop and their health insurance has been canceled.

At the end of September, Stanley Romanstein resigned his position as ASO president and executive director, stating that he believed his continued leadership would be an impediment to reaching a new labor agreement. Terry Neal, a retired Coca-Cola Company executive and current ASO board member, has been appointed interim president.

Still, WAC refuses to budge from its “best and final” offer presented September 5, which would reduce both musician salaries and the size of the orchestra, and would give ultimate control over the orchestra complement to administration. Two meetings have been held with Allison Beck, the federal mediator who helped reach a deal in the Met negotiations. WAC has since canceled meetings and has been slow to reschedule them.

ASO musicians have continued to perform concerts around Atlanta and have held daily protests outside WAC. A petition urging WAC and ASO management to end the lockout is available at:


On November 9th the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians and management were able to negotiate a new deal six weeks after the season was supposed to have started (the season will now start this Thursday—11/13). The new deal allows musicians to receive a 6% pay raise over the next four years, and it will pay increased premiums to participate in a high-deductible health plan.

The size of the orchestra will increase from 77 musicians to 88 over the next four years.

Virginia A. Hepner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodruff Arts Center said in a statement:

“We are thrilled we have been able to reach agreement with the musicians. Over the last several difficult weeks of negotiates, both sides recognized that we all share the same goals and aspirations – we all want a world class orchestra that the musicians and city are proud of and one that has long-term financial stability. We believe this new agreement is one that will allow us to achieve those goals.”

Danny Laufer, an associate principal cellist and vice president of the musicians’ negotiating team, said:

“We are grateful and humbled by the incredible outpouring of support displayed for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from our community, as well as across the country and around the world.”

The first concert will feature Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”


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