The National Symphony Orchestra, which ended its own five-week strike on Friday evening, has canceled its concerts for the coming week, because of the continuing strike by musicians of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.
The musicians of the National Symphony, who were scheduled to play this Tuesdy, Wednesday, and Thursday nights and Friday afternoon, refuse to cross the picket line of the Opera House musicians, who perform for ballet, musical plays and operas staged there.
There is no other place in Washington where the National Symphony could plays its programs except its former home, Constitution Hall, which is unavailable for at least the next two weeks.
The strike of the musicians who perform in the Kennedy Center Opera House centers around problems of job security and dismissal procedures. A core of 44 players have been playing in the Opera House there since the Kennedy Center opened on Sept. 8, 1971. They are seeking tenure, recognition as the official orchestra of the Opera House, and the same safeguards in auditioning players as those enjoyed by musicians in other orchestras.
Martin Feinstein, executive director of the Kennedy Center, has advised officials of Musicians Union Local 161-170 and the members of the striking orchestra of plans to double the size of the Opera House Orchestra, which raised the question of how the auditions for the present players will be conducted.
In the meantime, the Opera House Orchestra strike has caused the cancellation of half of the entire season of the Washington Opera, which had scheduled eight performances of Verdi's "Rigoletto" and Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" in November. It also threatens 28 National Symphony events in November, another concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra on Nov. 6, and may requre the moving of the Choral Arts Society program of Nov. 5 to another site.
The settlement of the National Symphony strike Friday evening, however, brought expressions of relief and approval from both sides. The musicians' new three-year contract, which will cost the symphony association an extra $1.5 million over the three years includes practically everything the players had sought.