Who is the problem?


Columbus is the fastest growing region in Ohio. It is also one of the richest.

Arts business produces over $330 million in economic activity in the Columbus area. That’s 11,000 jobs.

The musicians of the Columbus Symphony play at a world class level. Other orchestras at this level are paid much higher salaries.

Yet, Robert “Buzz” Trafford, president of the Columbus Symphony Board, and a lawyer with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, thinks the musicians are overpaid and are causing the problem. He has hardly ever attended the Symphony. He also uses Google to figure out how to run a symphony orchestra. He's not interested in the professional and experienced opinions of anyone, unless they agree with his.

Tony Beadle, Executive Director of the Columbus Symphony, and supposedly a leader of the arts, called the orchestra a "dinosaur". He mocked a passionate grassroots support base which was formed to help with the current crisis. Since he came here, the Symphony has taken a nose dive. He is incapable of doing his job effectively.

Tony Beadle and management overspent their own budget by $6.5 million in the past 4 years. That’s over $1.6 million community dollars wasted each year. None of this went to pay the musicians.

The musician’s expenses in the budget went down by $0.9 million in the past 4 years. Yet, the musicians are willing to immediately take a 7% salary cut to save the orchestra.

Buzz Trafford said he would think about accepting a thrid party mediator 3 weeks ago. He still hasn't accepted it. What's he afraid of? He also insists that the musicians pay for half the mediator's fee, something which is unheard of in any musician negotiation. Management pays the fee, because management stands to benefit from the advice of the mediator. The musicians continued to do their jobs of playing music at world class levels. Management needs professional advice to solve the problems they caused and they should pay for it.

Who do you think is the problem?

When a baseball team is losing, who gets fired, the players or the manager?

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3 comments for “Who is the problem?

  1. Elizabeth Soyland
    July 13, 2008 at

    I concur with Ms. Ryan. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!

  2. Jan Ryan
    July 13, 2008 at

    As of July 13, having attended the concert at Vets Memorial, I wish to add to my comment above. I had the pleasure to speak with a former executive director of a symphony concerning the role he had. As I mentioned the board is chosen by the companies which sponsor the Symphony. These people know nothing about music, and some come each month and some don’t. However,it is the executive director’s role to educate the members about music, to support the musicians, and to strongly push the board into fund raising. That has not happened with our present executive director who had the audacity last evening to video Jim Akin’s remarks. How’s that for support of the musicians? In conclusion it is my opinion that both the board and the executive director have failed this magnificant group of musicians.

    Jan Ryan

  3. Jan Ryan
    July 9, 2008 at

    I believe that it is the Board that is the problem. They have not been up front with where they are in that their report was done in November and made public in January. These people have no music background. The corporations which donate money appoint someone to ” sit” on the board and I do think that is all they do is “sit.
    I just returned from Maine and while in a book store I saw a picture of the Portland Symphony. How many book stores in Columbus have a picture of the Columbus Symphony? Also our airport has nothing about our symphony. Is that the resposibility of the Board? YES!

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