The San Antonio Symphony currently ranks 55th in terms of national orchestra budgets, says conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Whether recent outpourings of community support can give the struggling Symphony the sustainable future it needs remains an open question.
I can’t imagine the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts without the San Antonio Symphony and a vibrant season of orchestral programs.
The $203 million transformation of the historic Municipal Auditorium that reopened as the Tobin in 2014 was conceived and designed to be the home of this city’s performing arts organizations – the opera, ballet, the youth orchestra, and others – but the symphony is the bedrock foundation of them all.
Sebastian Lang-Lessing, the San Antonio Symphony’s musical director and conductor, announced to a Tricentennial Celebration concert audience Friday night that the orchestra’s shows would go on, reversing the announced cancellation of the Symphony’s season.
Its season was canceled Wednesday night, but the unraveling of the structure of the San Antonio Symphony had begun months earlier, at a May 5 meeting last year.
The decision by the Symphonic Music of San Antonio to withdraw from its agreement to take over operations of the San Antonio Symphony from the Symphony Society of San Antonio has created a great deal of confusion and consternation.
Sebastian Lang-Lessing, the San Antonio Symphony’s music director, said Friday that an upcoming series of Tricentennial concerts set to begin next week will happen.
The union representing the San Antonio Symphony musicians announced Thursday it was at a standstill with the orchestra’s management over contract negotiations a mere 10 days before the current contract extension expires.
The Musician’s Society of San Antonio union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against San Antonio Symphony management, and scheduled a news conference for Thursday.
Thomas A. Stephenson, the former publisher of the San Antonio Express-News and later the Houston Chronicle, was named the first executive director of the recently formed Symphonic Music for San Antonio (SMSA), a nonprofit organization with the mission of securing the San Antonio Symphony’s long-term viability in the city.
The local orchestra has been struggling financially for years. SMSA will take over on Sept. 1., the first day of its fiscal year.