Tag Archives: orchestra news

Memphis Symphony Orchestra Musicians Accept Pay Cut

In October, musicians of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) accepted a 38% pay cut in order to allow the organization to regain its footing. The concession is for the current year only and will then be renegotiated.

In addition to the wage cut, the orchestra’s season length will be reduced from 39 weeks to 24 nonconsecutive weeks. Vacant positions in the orchestra will not be filled this year.

MSO was in danger of closure earlier this year, and the musicians approved a memorandum of understanding stating that the orchestra would reduce its budget from $4.8 million to $3.2 million. Since then, MSO has raised $2.2 million toward its new “sustainability fund.”

Dayton Philharmonic Signs New Contract

Members of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (Dayton Arts Alliance) have signed a new contract. Orchestra members voted in May 2014 for a three-year contract through August 2017. The agreement includes a 3% increase in wages for contracted members, a health benefit of $275 per season paid to each contracted member, and a small increase in substitute pay. Service guarantees have remained relatively unchanged. The negotiation committee appreciates the cooperation and congeniality of the DPAA management, and would like to thank Local 101-471 and AFM Negotiator Nathan Kahn for their assistance.

Minnesota Orchestra Hires Executive Director

The Minnesota Orchestra has announced the hiring of Kevin Smith as President and CEO. Smith was named interim executive director after the orchestra’s previous CEO, Michael Henson, stepped down in August, in the aftermath of the 16-month musician lockout. Previously, Smith was executive director of the Minnesota Opera.

The board, overwhelmingly impressed with Smith’s work, offered him the position through the 2017-2018 season. During the interim period, Smith faced the great challenge of repairing internal trust following the bitter lockout. He has built strong relationships with all constituencies of the organization and the musicians are pleased that he will take on the position.

He has made progress in restoring the orchestra’s financial health, as well; the organization expects its deficit for fiscal year 2014 to be under $1 million.

Kevin Smith New Minnesota Orchestra President

It was only a year ago that the Minnesota Orchestra was locked out, but with a new hire they are getting back into the swing of things. Kevin Smith – currently the interim president and CEO – agreed to stay on through the 2017-18 season as the official Minnesota Orchestra president.

Smith took over from Michael Henson, the former CEO who became the main target and criticism for many issues in the organization. The board was searching for a new president, and Smith wasn’t even in the running. However, he turned out to be so extraordinary the board asked him to remain in his position.

“It was not in my original plan, but I thought: Why not, it’ll be an adventure,” Smith commented.

Board Chairman Gordon Sprenger said, “Kevin exceeded my expectations and we felt that if there was anyone who could help us find solutions, this was the guy right now.”

Smith has to deal with new contract talks with the musicians whose deal ends in 2017, and music director Osmo Vänskä. While Smith said he enjoyed working with Vänskä, it is the board’s decision whether he stays or goes.

Either way, it sounds like Smith is working hard for the orchestra.

“We want to start sooner rather than later with the musicians.” He said, “We need to have a clear financial picture moving forward to show what we can offer. They know that, we know that.”

Principal cellist Anthony Ross said in a statement regarding Smith’s hiring that “the musicians are delighted.”

This all sounds like good news for an orchestra that hasn’t been having the best time recently. Hopefully, things will only improve from here on.