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Indy Orchestra Lockout Hurting Local Economy, ISO Reputation

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is one of many that is looking at cuts to bridge budget gaps. One expert says its not just the economic downturn that has caused money issues.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has cancelled performances for the third week in a row after the symphony’s management and the musicians’ union failed to reach a contract agreement.

Indiana University Arts Administration lecturer Michael Wilkerson says the lockout could have an effect on local business. He says businesses depending on the orchestra’s events are taking a hit each week the symphony does not play.

“You will have all of the musicians not getting paid and revenues not coming to the symphony. So all the people that work for the administrative side, people that work for the box office, people that work for restaurants nearby before the concert and the bars people go after the concert. There’s a quite a ripple effect economically, ” Wilkerson says.

Wilkerson says he expects the settlement to take another few weeks, although, he says, extending the negotiations is not helping the symphony’s reputation either.

Chairman of the negotiating committee Richard Graef  says the musicians are frustrated with the cancellations, and he hopes an agreement can be reached within the next week.

“We don’t feel it necessary. We feel we are really close to an agreement. And we should be able to find a way to keep the music going for the people of the central Indiana,” Graef says.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians have been playing outside the theater each day and performed a benefit concert this past weekend for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra.

The ISO management declined to comment.

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