Carnegie Hall cancels opening night concert after labor dispute


NEW YORK — Carnegie Hall canceled its season-opening concert tonight featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra and superstar violinist Joshua Bell.

The announcement followed the calling of a strike by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One, the union representing stagehands at the famed venue. As Bloomberg reported in July, a senior Carnegie Hall stagehand’s annual pay in 2011 was $465,000.

“The season-opening concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin and featuring violinist Joshua Bell and vocalist/double bassist Esperanza Spalding, was scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.,” according to a statement released by Carnegie Hall. “All future performances remain on Carnegie Hall’s schedule, and daily updates will be issued pending resolution of the strike.”

A message from Local One President James J. Claffey Jr. at the I.A.T.S.E. headquarters confirmed the strike and instructed union members to gather at the hall’s West 57th Street address to staff picket lines. “The strike is on,” Claffey said in a message recorded on his answering machine.

The Carnegie Hall statement attributed the strike to failure to reach an agreement regarding jurisdiction over a new education wing, which the hall said “would not only restrict education work within the new spaces, it would divert significant funds away from the Hall’s music education programs and into stagehand fees.”

According to the statement, “Local One also demands that Carnegie Hall displace other union employees currently performing maintenance work in the new Education Wing, insisting that stagehands perform this work, which will involve a substantially higher cost.”