In a survey conducted this summer, the union found that musicians averaging 21 years of professional experience earned roughly Ô£22,500 a year: less than the average cost of the instruments orchestra members typically play.
"At a time when there is a boom in live music and a growth in interest in classical performance, it appears that the performers' recompense does not reflect the income they help generate at the box office," union organizer John Smith said in a written statement.
The union‹founded in 1893 and representing more than 31,000 British musicians‹polled approximately 20 percent of all musicians under contract with UK orchestras this summer. Nearly 90 percent of those polled said they worked outside jobs to make ends meet, many in fields unrelated to music.
Union organizers said they feared that low pay, combined with the extensive training needed to become a professional musician, would dissuade younger musicians from entering the field.