By Francisco Salazar
The San Antonio Symphony has announced it will be dissolved.
In a statement, the board of directors said, “with deep regret, the Board of Directors of the Symphony Society of San Antonio announces the dissolution of the San Antonio Symphony. By unanimous vote, the Board has initiated the requisite steps to 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 remain, and close the doors.”
The statement added, “labor negotiations for what would have been the 2021-22 season began in January of 2021. The last bargaining session between the Symphony Society and the Musicians’ Union took place on March 8, 2022 after which the Union declined to return to the bargaining table, despite efforts of federal mediators and the Symphony. 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. We want to thank the hundreds of talented musicians and administrative staff who have served our organization since its founding. Without your tireless dedication, we would not have had an organization to deliver great symphonic music for these past eighty years.”
The Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1939 and performed with the San Antonio Mastersingers, the 140-voice Official Chorus of the San Antonio Symphony, which was founded in 1943. The San Antonio Symphony League helped make the Young People’s Concerts possible and were eventually attended by more than 45,000 elementary school children each year.
In 1973, the Symphony League’s Belle Ball was conceived and inaugurated by civic leader Margaret King Stanley. The orchestra also enjoyed strong relationships with the city’s educational institutions such as Trinity University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, all of the Alamo Community College District campuses, and the San Antonio Independent School District.