Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg met Monday morning to determine what kind of funding would be available for San Antonio Symphony operations, with City and County managers looking to have a plan in place on Tuesday, Wolff said.
“All we’re talking about right now is a funding mechanism,” Wolff said, that would allow County funds to match City funds as they have in the recent past.
“And that’s to get us through whatever portion of the season that they hope to salvage,” Wolff said of the reconstituted Symphony Society.
The Symphony’s concerts began last weekend with apprehension, sadness, and resignation after its management had announced the cancellation of the remainder of the season. But halfway through Friday's Tricentennial Celebration concert, conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing announced that the season had been restored, touching off a raucous standing ovation complete with loud cheers and whistles from the audience of more than 1,100.
What the remainder of the 2017-18 season will look like is uncertain, however, as community leaders and a restored Symphony board look to solve persistent operational questions that had the orchestra on unsteady footing in the first place.
“We are working on that presently,” Craig Sorgi wrote in a text message Monday. Sorgi is a violinist and negotiating chair of the Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony, the musicians' union. “Everyone is communicating efficiently and working toward a plan,” he continued, noting that the number of concerts that will be staged hasn’t been specified yet.
Newly appointed Symphony Society Board Chair Kathleen Weir Vale is leading the organization's efforts to restore the season, which had been canceled at a Jan. 3 board meeting called by former chair Alice Viroslav. Vale called past and present board members to a meeting on Sunday to decide what the rest of the season could look like. However, what exactly was decided is unknown.
Past board members, including Taddy McAllister and Jim Lowe, who both resigned following a contentious meeting last May, have officially rejoined the board.
Assistant City Manager Lori Houston confirmed last week that the City has potentially more than $350,000 in available funds for the Symphony’s current season, should it meet its obligation for a full season, but that the funds would require a vote from City Council.
Lang-Lessing originally had programmed a three-weekend Tricentennial Festival program, including last weekend’s Spanish-themed concerts. This weekend, Jan. 12-14, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will host Dream Week concerts featuring Beethoven’s Eroica, with a special narration by County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4).
For now, these concerts are set. What follows remains to be seen.