PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Friday night was supposed to be opening night, a fun way to kick off the season with a dinner to raise money for the orchestra. The dinner went on, but the music went silent before the show began.
Only Eyewitness News was there the exact moment orchestra members walked out of the Kimmel Center. “Either you believe in the future of the Philadelphia Orchestra and classical music, or you don’t,” said William Polk.
Polk represents the Orchestra Union and says negotiations went to the last possible minute on opening night.
Karen Simon and her husband came from Columbus, Ohio for opening night. “I had heard that it’s probably the best orchestra in the United States and I was sitting there and then to hear the announcement, it was just sad,” Simon said.
It’s been a difficult year for the orchestra. The Academy Ball in January was cancelled due to a blizzard threat. Now, this.
An orchestra executive told Eyewitness News that he’s ready to negotiate with the musicians.
“The ball is in their court and we look forward to hearing from them,” Ryan Fleur, executive VP of the Philadelphia Orchestra said.
The group was scheduled to perform at the Verizon Hall on Friday night. Weekend shows were cancelled as a result of the strike.