Atlanta Arts and Culture Blog 

Previews, reviews and commentary on Atlanta's cultural scene

More on Atlanta Symphony leader’s resignation; petition launches; notes from musician lockout

  • 4:48 pm Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

When the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced the surprise resignation Monday of its president and CEO Stanley Romanstein, he said in a statement that he did so out of concern that his leadership would be an “impediment” to reaching a collective bargaining agreement with ASO musicians.

But when ASO Players’ Association President Paul Murphy was asked if indeed Romanstein represented a roadblock to a new deal, his answer was, well, not exactly.

“Stanley was never empowered to negotiate an agreement with the Musicians of the ASO; neither this negotiation nor in 2012,” Murphy said in an email to the AJC on Tuesday.

Murphy [More]

Updated: Atlanta Symphony CEO Romanstein resigns; retired Coke exec to serve as interim leader

  • 2:32 pm Monday, September 29th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Stanley Romanstein, shown in 2010 when he joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, tendered his resignation as president and CEO on Monday.

With the lockout of its musicians now in its fourth week, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra made a surprise announcement Monday afternoon that its president and CEO Stanley Romanstein has resigned.

“I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO’s musicians,” Romanstein said in a statement released by the orchestra administration.

The lockout is the second in two years of ASO musicians, and much of their aggrievement during tense collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2012 — and over eight months of unsuccessful talks this year — has [More]

Atlanta Symphony musicians protest on what would have been opening night.

  • 12:26 am Friday, September 26th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

The musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra were wearing black, which would have been appropriate for Thursday night’s scheduled opening concert of its 70th anniversary season.

But the concert was cancelled earlier this week, another development in a whirlwind three-week lockout of the players by management of the orchestra and its parent nonprofit, the Woodruff Arts Center, that went into effect after the two sides failed to reach an accord on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Instead, the musicians donned their tuxes and gowns for a wordless demonstration that they dubbed “A Deafening Silence” on Callaway Plaza, outside the 15th Street entrance [More]

14 composers issue statement in support of Atlanta Symphony musicians

  • 5:39 pm Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
ASO music director Robert Spano (center) with composers  Michael Gandolfi (from left), Adam Schoenberg, Christopher Theofanidis and Jennifer Higdon.

Some of the top composers of contemporary music, including John Adams, John Corigliano and Richard Prior, have issued a statement in support of the locked-out musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

“We unanimously encourage those involved in its management, board and funders to do whatever necessary to keep this great orchestra vital and thriving,” the 14 composers wrote. “The ASO must not be allowed to degrade, piecemeal, into a second-class entity.”

Their letter was issued on Thursday, on what was to have been the opening night of the ASO’s 70th anniversary season.

ASO and Woodruff Arts Center management locked out musicians for [More]

ASO musicians plan ‘Deafening Silence’ observance tonight, KSU concerts Friday

  • 1:35 pm Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

On what was to have been the opening night of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary season, locked-out ASO musicians and their supporters are planning “A Deafening Silence,” a silent observance, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday across Peachtree Street from the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown.

The musicians will, however, be back to music-making on Friday, when they independently perform two free concerts at Kennesaw State University.

Speaking of “A Deafening Silence,” Daniel Laufer, an ASO cellist and ASO Players Association negotiating committee member, said, “There will not be any speeches or music during the actual event.  “We expect ASO musicians, the ASO Chorus [More]

Updated: ASO music director Spano: Atlanta ‘in danger of losing the flagship of its culture’

  • 7:15 am Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

But as the lockout moves through its third week, it’s becoming loud and clear that the disagreement isn’t merely over pay and benefits but the future of the ASO.

Management’s final offer before the lockout was for a four-year deal with a modest raise that Players’ Association leaders said would be negated by health coverage cost increases. Who controls the size of the orchestra, however, may prove a thornier issue.

ASO president and CEO Stanley Romanstein wants final say on filling openings, after consultation with Spano and Players’ Association representatives. The players say they don’t trust him with that power.

A recent public [More]

Locked-out ASO musicians to perform two free concerts Friday at Kennesaw State

  • 12:57 pm Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 by Howard Pousner

The locked-out Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians will perform free concerts at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday at Kennesaw State University’s Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Family Performance Center, the school announced Tuesday.

The concerts, at which seating will be first-come, first-served with no ticket required, replace a paid-ticket performance planned for 8 p.m. the same night that was cancelled by the ASO administration due to the stalled negotiations with the musicians. While admission is free, donations for the ATL Symphony Musicians group will be accepted.

Instead of music director Robert Spano, the Friday programs, including works by Dvorak and Beethoven, will be conducted [More]

ASO season delayed through Nov. 8

  • 8:27 am Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 by Jamila Robinson
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

By Mark Davis

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary season has been canceled through Nov. 8, the orchestra’s management announced Monday — the victim, ASO executives said, of a contract impasse.

Atlanta Beltline presenting slate of theater, dance, music, more Saturday and Sunday

  • 8:02 am Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

Art on the Atlanta Beltline, the 10-week outdoor event featuring 100 art installations, also presents an array of free performances on select weekends, including the one coming up.  Here’s a schedule of coming attractions (times, acts subject to change; more details at

Sept 20 at Historic Fourth Ward Park Outdoor Theater
o 4:15 pm: TONI MARIE YOUNG: Class on the Grass [Dance Class]
o 5:30 pm: EDELIEGBA: Dance [Dance]
o 6:15 pm: KOLLABORATION ATLANTA PRESENTS: Kingsmen and Kavi Vu – The Wizard of the BeltLine [Theater]
o 7:30 pm: [More]

CD, club concert keep Atlanta Symphony music playing amid lockout

  • 8:51 am Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

With the scheduled Sept. 25 start of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary season increasingly in doubt due to fractured contract negotiations, Atlantans might wonder when they will hear the musicians making fresh music again.

Sooner than you think, if a CD and a benefit concert featuring a chamber version of the ASO are acceptable substitutes for a full ensemble appearance in Symphony Hall.

In what could be seen as the worst or best of times for a release, ASO Media issued the all-Ralph Vaughan Williams two-CD set last week just two days after the ASO’s musicians were [More]