By David Ng
10:50 AM PDT, October 2, 2013
Carnegie Hall's opening night gala -- an annual highlight of the New York cultural calendar -- has been canceled at the last minute because of a strike by the organization's stagehands.
The Wednesday evening concert was to feature the Philadelphia Orchestra led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with appearances by violinist Joshua Bell and jazz musician Esperanza Spalding.
The labor strike stems from a disagreement over stagehands' jurisdiction over Carnegie Hall's education wing, which is scheduled to open next year. Wednesday's strike was called by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One, which represents Carnegie Hall stagehands.
Leaders of Carnegie Hall said in a statement released Wednesday that acceptance of the union's demands "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."
They said Wednesday's gala dinner will still take place at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom.
Carnegie Hall said on Wednesday that all scheduled future concerts remain unchanged and that it will provide updates on the strike.
Wednesday's live broadcast of the radio series Carnegie Hall Live, from New York's WQXR-FM and Carnegie Hall, in collaboration with American Public Media, has been canceled and will be replaced with an encore broadcast.
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Orchestra canceled its November concerts at Carnegie Hall as the orchestra continues to work through its labor dispute between management and musicians.
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