The players will receive a 25 percent pay raise over the next two years and a retroactive raise of 8 percent for the 2004-05 season. Management also agreed to boost its contribution to musicians' health insurance.
Musicians had demanded a raise, pointing out that they accepted pay cuts in the 1990s when the orchestra was struggling. Base pay in the previous contract was $15,758.
"The board of directors knows that our musicians are our greatest asset and we are pleased that this agreement allows us to compensate their wonderful work while maintaining a financially responsible budget," said Greg Ellena, president of the NMSO board. "We are very fortunate in that some very generous individuals have come forward to make the resources available to allow us to reach this agreement."
Carla Lehmeier, a spokesperson for the musicians, said, "The musicians are excited to begin the season on such a high note. We are grateful that our donors have faith in us and supported the fund that enabled our salary increases. We believe that this contract is a significant step towards our goal of fair and competitive wages."
The NMSO board also approved a retroactive salary increase of 4 percent for staff members.