Boston Symphony announces pay cuts

Due to the cancellation of all performances since 10 month the Boston Symphony musicians have agreed to pay cuts in a new three-year labor agreement, the Orchestra announced. With a revenue loss of $35 million in ticket sales, the salary reductions average 37 percent in the first year, the announcement stated. During the contract’s second and third years, increases in compensation will take place as the BSO will redevelop « sustainable revenue. »

The $35 million loss of box office revenue is the major factor in a total $54 million decline in earned income. The annual BSO budget for the year ending Aug. 31 totaled $107 million. For the new fiscal year, it is less than $50 million.

The new labor agreement « reflects our collective understanding of the major challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating financial losses due to the cancellation of the BSO’s performance and event schedule, March-November, » said BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe, BSO Players Committee Chairman James Markey and Boston Musicians Association President Patrick Hollenbeck in a joint statement.

The labor accord was ratified by the unionized musicians and went into effect on Aug. 24. It expands the definition of work covered by the contract by adding digital online performances, involvement in « community engagement activities, » educational collaborations, Tanglewood Learning Institute programs and fundraising events to be organized by the BSO’s development department and the board of trustees.

The contract also calls for a new BSO Resident Fellowship Program to begin in fall 2021. The merit-based, one-to-two-year training program will be aimed at early-career orchestral musicians from « historically underrepresented populations, » according to the press release. Young musicians of color would study with BSO musicians and also perform with the BSO and the Boston Pops in their Symphony Hall seasons.

« Management and musicians worked enthusiastically together on the creation of the BSO Resident Fellowship Program for young musicians of color — a program that we hope will inspire much needed optimism as we continue to look toward better times and toward expanding the BSO’s vision of its future offerings, » the statement said.

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