Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Approves Two Year Contract

Classic Arts News   Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Approves Two Year Contract
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its musicians have ratified a new two-year contract on September 15, one day before the previous contract was to expire. According to an announcement from the orchestra, the new agreement will be effective until September 13, 2008.

Under the new contract, which was agreed between the Association and the local union, the musicians will preserve their full-time, 52-week schedule with the exception of a two-week furlough in the contract's first year.

The agreement preserves the orchestra's schedule of 43 weeks of performances, including a full summer season.

Minimum weekly compensation will remain at $1,440 in the first year, increasing to $1,450 for the first 26 weeks and $1,500 for the second 26 weeks of the second year. Musicians will pay for a greater share of their healthcare and other benefits.

The orchestra will maintain its current size of 90 musicians for the upcoming season and will increase to 91 players for the 2007-08 season.

The settlement also requires the BSO to sign the new national live recording agreement that was recently ratified by the American Federation of Musicians and contains provisions that enhance the orchestra's ability to make recordings and participate in other forms of electronic media.

Other provisions in the contract give the musicians increased responsibility in hiring and tenure decisions as well as recognizing that the BSO now has two homes, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington, D.C..

Music director designate Marin Alsop, whose appointment last summer was initially met with hostility from the Baltimore players, commented, "I'm extremely happy to hear of this outcome and look forward to working with the BSO players under this new agreement."

Michael Bronfein, newly elected chairman of the Baltimore Symphony's board of directors said, "The musicians deserve full credit and a huge thank you for playing their part to ensure our future fiscal stability. We are now in position to deliver some of the finest music in the world and, with the rigorous cost controls we have implemented, a balanced budget which our donors and supporters want and deserve."

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