Minimum base pay for the musicians under the new agreement rises from the previous annual rate of $112,840 to $118,040, with comparable raises in each of the subsequent years. (As in most top US orchestras, many BSO players, particularly the principals, earn considerably more.)
In addition, pension and per diem payments to the musicians have been increased, according to a statement from BSO management. However, for the first time, according to The Boston Globe, beginning in fall 2007, the players will pay a portion of their health insurance premiums.
Payments to freelance players for about 50 Boston Pops concerts are being reduced, according to the Globe, from $434 to $378 per performance.
One notable provision of the new contract is the establishment of a two-year "experimental period" in which the players and management will "study and monitor developments in all conventional and new media areas" with an eye to the potential for commercial recordings, Internet downloads and streaming audio, and the like. One example cited to the Globe by BSO Players' Committee member Ron Barron is the possible release of a concert recording of Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs. The BSO performed the new song cycle with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson last season in some of her final appearances before her death in July of this year.