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Striking Symphony Musicians Play Outside Heinz Hall

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- They say the show must go on, and today it did out on the streets of Pittsburgh right in front of Heinz Hall. However, that show was quickly cut short.

"Heinz Hall management is shutting down the music. We can't play anymore we have to go across the street," said a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

PSO performers packed up their bags.

"That's really lame," one PSO performer said.

They carried their instruments across the street and continued performing for patrons.

"This is great hearing them out on the street. That's the kind of protest you want to see," patron Ulf Skrappen said.

"It's really joyous in an unjoyful situation," patron Devon Bakum said.

Saturday evening would have been day two of "The Music of John Williams", but shows were cancelled this weekend when musicians walked off the job Friday morning. Ninety nine members of the American Federation of Music picketed outside the theater. Musicians say management wants to cut pay by 15 percent. They say management wouldn't budge on a contract that included major pension changes and a reduction in the number of musicians. They say that would not attract quality performers. However, the chief operating officer of the orchestra says they're facing some hard financial realities.

"We are expecting a 20 million dollar cash deficit in the next five years," Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra COO Christian Scornisch said.

"We want to meet with management to get back to the table to come up with a solution to the problem but as of now they do not want to meet with us," musician Micah Howard said.

Until then, they'll keep playing.

"We just wanted to play for the city. We were playing for our patrons and our fans we wanted to provide them some music," musician Jim Nova said.

"Classical music has survived over the centuries and more and more we need this type of culture in our lives," patron Borys Bakum said.

Musicians with the symphony say classical music has gained in popularity over the years. In fact, they said season ticket sales went up last year and are continuing to see the audience build. People with tickets should call the box office to arrange a refund or exchange. Check the symphony's website for information on future shows.


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For more information on future shows,visit the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's website.


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