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It's the silly season

0 Robert Levine

It’s nice to know that the management of the Louisville Orchestra think that something about the orchestra is valuable. Too bad it’s the name and not the musicians:

In a sign of how far apart the two sides remain, an attorney for Louisville Orchestra Inc. has threatened legal action if its musicians continue to operate a website that includes “Louisville Orchestra” in its name.

In a Jan. 21 letter, attorney James U. Smith III states that the Louisville Orchestra Musicians Association’s site — www.lomusicians.org — violates the labor agreement between the two parties. The letter adds that under the contract’s terms, the musicians’ association needs the permission of orchestra administrators to maintain the site.

“Such permission will not be granted,” Smith wrote.

While the website has operated for several years, it became a contentious issue after the musicians created a group called Keep Louisville Symphonic and began organizing their own concerts and fundraising efforts — and promoting them on the website.

“It’s potentially viewed as a competing organization and it’s misleading and disingenuous to imply that donations to that organization are helping the Louisville Orchestra,” said Robert Birman, the Louisville Orchestra’s chief executive.

There is another way to avoid the appearance of the musicians being a “competing organization,” although the implication that the musicians want to “compete” with their employer is itself a little off-center. That way is not to have labor disputes in which the musicians feel the need to go to the immense trouble of making their case to the public, raising funds and putting on concerts.

Of course, that alternative way is harder than having the management lawyer send the musicians tacky letters.

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