The Kansas City Star reports that the raises were part of a new contract ratified on June 5. The players' current base pay of $40,661 will rise to $42,840 for the 2007-08 season, representing a 5% raise. Incremental increases will thereafter push salaries to $50,005 in 2010-11, the symphony's first full season in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (currently under construction).
"We have made a huge amount of progress since Michael Stern joined as music director," Frank Byrne, the symphony's executive director, told the paper. Stern was appointed in 2004 and began his tenure in the fall of 2005.
The contract also stipulates modest increases in health benefits, disability benefits, life insurance and family health care and offers provisions for more flexibility in scheduling of rehearsals, recordings and special projects, according to the Star.
The salary raises are in marked contrast to the three-year contract the players ratified in 2003, which called for a pay freeze for the first year and increases of only 2% in subsequent years.
The 80 members of the symphony, founded in 1982 after the demise of the Kansas City Philharmonic, play a 42-week season.