For immediate release – Statement of American Federation of Musicians Local 23 and the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony
San Antonio Symphony music director emeritus Sebastian Lang-Lessing, a well-respected presence in the San Antonio artistic community, is the Symphony Society’s most recent target in their malicious attempt to destroy the decades-old professional orchestra. Executive Director Corey Cowart, with the approval of the Symphony board, has terminated Maestro Lang-Lessing’s contract with the Symphony as Music Director Emeritus on the specious grounds that his agreement to conduct the musicians’ independent concerts on May 12 and 13 violated his contract with the Symphony.
Although the Symphony Society has not yet formally canceled the May 13/14 concerts slated to be conducted by Maestro Lang-Lessing, there has long since been no possibility that those concerts could take place, due to the Society’s own intransigence in refusing to budge from their fictitious and indefensible budget ceiling of just under five million dollars, combined with the lengthy advance timeline required for any concert. The non-existent schedule conflict is a pretext for retaliating against Maestro Lang-Lessing for supporting the musicians and begs the question of whether the Symphony deliberately engineered this “conflict” by unreasonably delaying concert cancellations. It is also retaliation against the musicians’ union for making possible the upcoming April 21-22 and May 12-13 independent concerts at the First Baptist Church.
Our message for Corey Cowart and the Symphony board is the same one we have been consistently delivering for months: that the musicians cannot and will not work under your artificial conditions which can only result in the destruction of the San Antonio Symphony as it has existed for more than eighty years. This display of petty vindictiveness toward a well-respected maestro for doing nothing more than supporting the musicians in their efforts to preserve a professional orchestra in the city we all love, removes any remaining doubt that you need to exit the stage to make room for new leaders who truly love and value our world-class orchestra and want to keep its majestic sound for current and future generations of San Antonians.
For questions or additional information, please contact Union negotiating chair
Mary Ellen Goree
-Mary Ellen Goree
Principal Violin II
Chair, Negotiating Committee