City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Culture notes: With free Piedmont Park concerts announced, ASO planning balanced budget; Callanwolde announces hot jazz dates

With free Piedmont Park concerts announced, ASO planning balanced budget
Last week’s announcement by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra that it will resume free concerts at Piedmont Park was a burst of positive news from an institution steadying itself after thorny contract negotiations that included a musician lockout before the season started.

In case you missed the news, the ASO and the Piedmont Park Conservancy will present a “Performance on the Promenade” series on May 17 and 23.

The 7:30 p.m. concerts are free but tickets (general admission seating) will be required. Tickets for May 17’s performance will available at 10 a.m. May 3 via May 23 tickets will be available at 10 a.m. May 10. Information:

The Piedmont concerts were launched in 1976, but concerns about protecting the park during a protracted drought caused them to move to other sites in 2008 and 2009, after which the series stopped because of a lack of funding.

Bigger fiscal concerns — annual deficits that were adding to an accumulated debt approaching $20 million — are what caused ASO management to insist upon pay and benefit cuts from its musicians.

Orchestra president and CEO Stanley E. Romanstein said those concessions have helped the bottom line but that he still expects the orchestra to finish the fiscal year ending May 31 with a “modest” deficit, in part because of lagging ticket sales that he characterized as “not unique to the ASO.”

“It’s been a reasonably productive year for us all the way around,” Romanstein told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We won’t realize all the benefits from the new contract and all the expense reductions we’ve done until next year. But we’re going to post a balanced budget next year and we’re in the process of developing that [plan] right now.” HOWARD POUSNER

Callanwolde announces some hot dates
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center has just released its “Jazz on the Lawn” lineup, and fans of the music will want to add these dates to their calendars:

June 14: Ike Stubblefield and Friends. Jazz with a distinct R&B influence

June 28: Serenata Band. Latin jazz by a seven-piece unit

July 12: Scott Glazer’s Mojo Dojo. Bluesy, Southern soul spin on jazz

July 26: Ted Howe Trio with Karla Harris: Jazzy take on James Bond movie music

Aug. 9: Madoca & Company: Fusion

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. $15 in advance, $20 door. It’s a picnic atmosphere, so don’t forget blankets and snacks. And if it rains, the concerts move inside. 980 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-872-5338, ROSALIND BENTLEY

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