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Mayor Confers With Both Sides of Symphony Crisis

January 15, 1987|HILLIARD HARPER and RALPH FRAMMOLINO | Times Staff Writers

Meeting behind closed doors with musicians and San Diego Symphony officials on Wednesday, San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor attempted to resuscitate the virtually moribund labor relations that this week resulted in the cessation of orchestra operations.

"They just kicked around some ideas," O'Connor spokesman Paul Downey said of the separate meetings. "Each of the sides had some ideas, and the mayor was simply there to facilitate it."

Downey said the meetings, held separately, gave no indication that progress could be expected in the near future. "Nobody has agreed to anything or made any decisions or anything like that," Downey said. "They've all gone home to think about the ideas that were kicked around."

Neither symphony President Herbert J. Solomon nor musicians' leader Gregory Berton would comment on the meetings.

Also Wednesday, former UC San Diego Chancellor William McGill acknowledged that he had been approached by O'Connor to serve as a "facilitator" between musicians and the San Diego Symphony. McGill, who was UCSD chancellor from 1965 to 1970 before being appointed president of Columbia University, described as tentative his involvement as a facilitator.

"The mayor did speak to me before Christmas. Something is going on, but it is so sensitive that I can't discuss it," McGill said. Having retired from Columbia in 1980, McGill is serving without pay as an adjunct professor of psychology at UCSD.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Philharmonic, formed in November to offer temporary support to musicians until regular symphony concerts resume, has begun fund-raising efforts. A series of six concerts, beginning with a Jan. 24 date at the Civic Theatre, has been scheduled by the otherwise out-of-work musicians.

"Ideally I would like to raise about $300,000," Lewis Silverberg, Philharmonic president, said. Silverberg has chaired fund-raising efforts for the zoo, opera and the Mandel Weiss Center for the Performing Arts at UCSD.

"We can't supplant the San Diego Symphony in a six-week period of time," Silverberg said. "Just for instance, the grant applications to state, local and federal governments--they take years to develop."

Silverberg said his "hard costs" for each of the six concerts total $15,000. If the philharmonic can raise $300,000, then the musicians can be paid the minimum scale they would earn with the San Diego Symphony, he said.

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