CSO musicians end strike with new contract

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)

After a seven-week strike, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s musicians  and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s board have agreed to a new five-year contract. The new agreement was ratified this weekend following negotiation sessions mediated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Retroactive to September 2018 and going through September 2023, the agreement covers working conditions, a 14 % wage increase over five years plus changing to a Defined Contribution Retirement Plan from a Defined Benefit Pension Plan.

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been a cultural treasure for this community for 128 years,” said CSOA Board of Trustees Chair Helen Zell.  “Our Trustees recognize and honor the exceptional artistry of the musicians. This new agreement reflects the excellence of the Orchestra and ensures that the musicians receive the outstanding compensation they deserve, while securing their and the CSOA’s long-term financial sustainability through the retirement plan transition,” said Zell.

Begun April 2018, negotiations between the association and the musicians’  had expired  March 10, 2019 after a 6-month extension.

The musicians were represented by Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208 President Terryl Lynn Jares and legal counsel Robert E. Bloch of Dowd, Bloch, Bennett, Cervone, Auerbach & Yokich. The association was represented by legal counsel Marilyn Pearson of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

The 2018/19 season, including a Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music concert with violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Evgeny Kissin, and the CSO subscription concerts conducted by Music Director Riccardo Muti, are resuming. For program details visit CSO.org.

Jodie Jacobs



Around town in December

Certainly Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” and Macy’s State Street holiday windows are on many folks’ traditional “do” list. But there are also other good shows to see and fun places to go as December 2018 turns into January 2019.

Cendrillon (Cinderella)at Lyric Opera. (Photo courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Cendrillon (Cinderella)at Lyric Opera. (Photo courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago)


“Into the Woods,” Stephen Sondheim’s “not happily ever after” take on traditional fairy tales, is at Music Theater Works at Cahn Auditorium on Sheridan Road in Evanston Dec. 22-31. Music Theater Works was formerly called Light Opera Works.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is about magic, love, and in this production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, is backed by a mash-up of rock, jazz, blues and doo-wop., Dec. 6, 2018 -Jan 27, 2019.

“La Ruta” world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre  Dec. 13-Jan. 27. At U.S.-owned factories in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, La Ruta is just a bus. But to the women who live, work and often disappear along the route, it’s much more.


“Cendrillon” (Cinderella) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, select dates from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass plays numbers from Holst to Tchaikovsky, 8 p.,. Dec. 19, at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. and the CSO does Handel’s “Messiah” at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Symphony Center.


Ice skating at rink in Millennium Park (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
Ice skating at rink in Millennium Park (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

Ice skate free in Millennium Park if you bring your skates, skate rental is $13 weekdays and $15 Friday-Sunday and holidays. Skating rink is street level on Michigan Avenue below Cloud Gate (The Bean) between Washington and Madison Streets.  Hours and more information at Millennium Park.

Take a “Holiday Lights, City Lights’ bus tour with the Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago and then check out CAC’s diorama on the main floor and skyscraper exhibit upstairs.

However, you can still find traditional holiday ideas at After Thanksgiving and Holiday shows and shopping plus light sights.


Jodie Jacobs