The contract must be ratified by the musicians and the symphony's board.
The new contract would run through October 2007. According to its terms, minimum pay would remain at $1,490 per week through next season—eliminating a scheduled raise—and and the season would include three weeks of unpaid furlough.
The minimum salary would rise to $1,520 per week the following season, with another three unpaid weeks.
Ed Wulfe, president of the Houston Symphony Society, said, "The musicians, through this new agreement, will be making a substantial contribution to our efforts to achieve financial stability in fiscal year 2006 and beyond."
The orchestra's accumulated debt, according to the Houston Chronicle, now stands at about $887,000. The financial problems began in 2001 with Tropical Storm Allison and continued in the economic downturn after September 11. The paper reports that the orchestra is still depending on capital-campaign donations to cover operating expenses.