SFMA History: 2000's

The 2000's was a busy decade, both good and bad.

The Palm Beach Opera signed its first collective bargaining agreement with South Florida Musicians Association in 2000 after 18 months of negotiations, finally giving the musicians job security and guaranteed wages and benefits. The Boca Pops, on the other hand, closed its doors in 2001 after serving the community for 50 years. The Boca Pops grew to a budget of $2.6 million a year, but before the start of the 2001-2 season, it had accumulated a debt of $1 million and in October announced it needed to raise $200,000 before the season started and another $300,000 during the season to keep going. By November the Pops had filed for bankruptcy and began the process of liquidating its assets, including its music library containing many arrangements written expressly for the Pops by Nick Azzolina, Pops conductor Mark Azzolina's brother.

The Florida Philharmonic began the decade by going on strike for four weeks in September and October 2000 after years of wage freezes meant to help stabilize the orchestra. The FPO emerged from the strike with a new 5-year agreement that called for a 27 percent increase over the life of the agreement. The agreement was short-lived, however. The contract was reopened after a year to negotiate concessions, with the musicians agreeing to shorten the season by four weeks and reduce their pay accordingly. Two years later, in 2003, the musicians again agreed to concessions but on May 9, 2003 the FPO filed for bankruptcy, eventually liquidating its assets, including Symphony Hall.

On the positive side, other orchestras were reinvigorated and new orchestras were formed. The Miami Symphony moved into a new era after the passing of conductor Manuel Ochoa, with the appointment of Eduardo Marturet as conductor in 2005. The Boca Raton Philharmonic Symphonia was founded in 2005, and the Cleveland Orchestra began a 10-year residency at the Arsht Center in 2007, performing three (now four) weeks a year in Miami.

Latin Grammy House BandThe recording industry saw new challenges with the new millennium. While CD sales declined, digital downloads (and piracy) became a big thing. Billboard even began to track not only digital downloads, but also ringtones. Famous artists continued to come to Miami to record; in 2001 it was Michael Jackson, in 2005 Barbara Streisand. And of course the Latin Grammys came to Miami in 2003.

After decades of planning and five years of construction, the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts (now the Arsht Center) opened in October 2006, at a cost of $472 million, double the original estimate. The Center contains a 2400-seat opera/ballet hall, a 2200-seat concert hall, and a 300-seat black box theater. The Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts lost tenants when Miami City Ballet, Broadway Across America, and others moved to the Arsht Center. In 2007 TOPA was bought by LiveNation and turned into the Fillmore Miami Beach.


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