The result is the continuation of the terms of the current contract, which had been due to expire at the end of August, including a one-year wage freeze for the musicians. The orchestra's base salary for its 39-week season, including recording fees, is $41,000.
The move is intended to shore up the orchestra in case of further funding crises such as the one it faced this season when Erie County withdrew a portion of its funding for a number of arts organizations. Of the $910,000 originally requested by the BPO, the county eventually promised $500,000, and has given the orchestra only $170,000 so far. As a result of the reduced funding, the orchestra cancelled a number of concerts.
Alan Ross, chairman of the orchestra's negotiating committee, said in a statement, "This was a clear choice under the county's current fiscal crisis. We felt it was in the best interest of the organization for the board and staff to be allowed to concentrate their full energies to stabilizing the orchestra's financial situation."
Angelo Fatta, chair of the orchestra's board of trustees, said, "We thank the musicians for helping the BPO contain the growth of expenses. We did not want to cancel concerts this year; we did not want to leave staff positions empty. We all. . . have made hard choices about the budget next year and hopefully the community will forward to financially support our efforts to secure the future for the BPO."
The contract-extension proposal was approved by the orchestra's board when it was proposed earlier this week.