Graduation Date

Spring 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Rebecca Robertson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Marissa Ramsier

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Mary Scoggin

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Orchestras across the United States have always struggled to maintain balanced budgets as nonprofits dependent on philanthropists and public funds. Consequently, it is normal for orchestra musicians to struggle with job insecurity and financial uncertainty to some degree. While the industry is no stranger to labor disputes, the last decade marked a notable shift in the character of labor negotiations that caused an unprecedented trend of lockouts – the refusal of employees to the workplace until a contract is reached. The orchestras that successfully reached a contract did not come out the other side unchanged; there was significant upheaval in the organizations both ideologically and structurally. My research explored the musicians' experience with lockouts and restructuring in the Minnesota Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The findings from this research detail the common experience of locked out orchestra musicians, how orchestra musicians have effectively influenced changes to the organizational structure, and the nature of these structural and ideological changes. Methods included qualitative interviews and survey. This research contributes to the gap in the literature around the experience of the workforce in this industry, and to broader conversations of art performance as labor and the future of American orchestras. The findings will be made available to select members of orchestra boards and administrations with musicians’ consent in the spirit of improving understanding, communication, and operations in the orchestra.

Citation Style