Dallas Symphony Signs Musicians to New Contract

Classic Arts News   Dallas Symphony Signs Musicians to New Contract
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and its musicians have signed a new five-contract, effective through the 2008-09 season. After a one-year wage freeze, musicians' minimum pay will rise by a total of 10 percent, to $89,250.

The two sides also agreed to limit healthcare costs and to changes in some work rules, including limitations on the acceptable temperatures for outdoor concerts.

According to the orchestra, the agreement was reached in mid-July, six weeks before the current contract expired on August 31st, and ratified by a vote of musicians on September 4.

Unlike several other major orchestra facing contract talks this fall, the DSO did not operate with a deficit last season. After posting shortfalls of $847,000 and $150,000 in 2001-02 and 2002-03, the orchestra cut costs, finishing the 2003-04 season with a surplus of $50,000.

In a statement released by the orchestra, management and musicians both expressed satisfaction with the agreement.

"This new agreement allows the Dallas Symphony to make wage and benefit improvements in a way that is both affordable and sustainable," DSO president Fred Bronstein said. "It's very consistent with our commitment to artistic growth, fiscal stability and a 'pay as you go' disciplined approach."

"I believe this settlement could prove to be a very defining moment for our organization," said bassoonist Scott Walzel, chair of the musicians' negotiating committee.

The DSO also announced that had extended the contract of principal guest conductor Claus Peter Flor through 2006-07. Flor, who is also the principal guest conductor of Riccardo Chailly's Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, has been in his DSO post since 1999.

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