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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Relocates Strathmore Shows In Support Of Labor Negotiations At Venue

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is moving two concerts from the Music Center at Strathmore as the North Bethesda venue continues negotiations with I.A.T.S.E. Local 868, the union representing ticket office workers.

The shows--a Sept. 25 performance with guest violinist Randall Goosby highlighting works by Bruch and Sibelius and an Oct. 2 concert called "Recovered Voices"--have both been relocated to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

Strathmore has said it is working to finalize an agreement with the venue's two dozen full- and part-time ticket sellers, but also hinted the pandemic has caused management "to rethink what ticket-buying will look like in the future."

In an August update, the venue said that, despite losing hundreds of events due to the pandemic, ticket sellers received their full wages while other employees were laid off or furloughed.

For its part, the union has claimed Strathmore is using the pandemic to eliminate full-time jobs in the ticket office and reduce hours for part-time employees.

Separately, Strathmore has to finalize an annual licensing agreement for the 2021-2022 season that complies with the contracts between the orchestra and the unions representing the musicians and stagehands.

In a statement, Tonya McBride Robles, vice president and chief operating officer for the BSO, said the decision to relocate the shows to Baltimore gives Strathmore time to complete negotiations for both.

"As a Founding and Resident Partner, the BSO reserves our dates at Strathmore two years in advance and signs an annual license agreement outlining the financial and legal terms for our concerts each season at Strathmore," Robles said. "We understand labor negotiations are difficult for all involved, which is why we are giving Strathmore more time and space to negotiate with I.A.T.S.E. Local 868 and to finalize our license agreement in turn – but this agreement needs to consider our collectively bargained agreements with our own musicians and stagehands. We are committed to continuing collaborative conversations with Strathmore and look forward to a return to our second home."

Comparable seating at the Meyerhoff is available to patrons with tickets to the Strathmore shows, as is complimentary parking or a shuttle service from Montgomery County, the orchestra said. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for entry.

The concerts will also be livestreamed for viewers to enjoy at home.

The BSO also noted that Montgomery County-area fans can enjoy two free outdoor performances at The Chrysalis in Howard County on Sept. 17 and 18.

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