No more music: Board of directors vote to dissolve San Antonio Symphony due to lack of labor contract

The board made the announcement Thursday and said it will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

SAN ANTONIO – Despite ongoing labor negotiations and after decades of performances, the San Antonio Symphony will soon be no more after a unanimous vote from its board of directors.

The board announced Thursday the dissolution of the symphony and said it will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

“The assets of the symphony now lie in the hands of a trustee who will liquidate them, pay what creditors remains, and close the doors,” the board said in a statement on its website.

The decision comes on the heels of an ongoing strike from symphony musicians that began in September 2021 after an impasse was declared in contract negotiations between the Symphony Society of San Antonio and the local chapter of the American Federation of Musicians.

Both sides struggled to strike a deal that offers competitive wages while also addressing the symphony’s financial struggles that have persisted for years.

Labor negotiations began in January of 2021, and the last bargaining session was held on March 8, 2022.

It was during the last session that the Union “declined to return to the bargaining table, despite efforts of federal mediators and the Symphony,” according to the board of directors’ statement.

“The Musicians’ Union has made it clear there is no prospect of the resumption of negotiations, absent the Board agreeing to a budget that is millions of dollars in excess of what the Symphony can afford. The absence of a labor contract has effectively forced the Symphony to shutter its operations.”

The board of directors credited hundreds of its musicians and administrative staff that have been a part of the symphony since its founding.

They also gave thanks to the City of San Antonio, state and federal governments and more for their support for the symphony over the years.

“The Symphony would not have survived thus far without the generous support of the noble civic leaders of Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, and the State and federal governments. Private corporations, foundations, and endowments from San Antonio and beyond have lent their support and encouragement for which we are truly grateful,” the board of directors’ statement said.

“As we close, we extend a final vote of thanks to you, the symphonic music lovers and generous donors and supporters who have sustained the Symphony since its founding in 1939.”

You can learn more about the symphony, or read the full statement from the board of directors here.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.