Houston Symphony musicians sign new contract

Posted on: October 4, 2010

In Saturday’s (10/2) Houston Chronicle, Tara Dooley reports, “With a deadline looming, Houston Symphony musicians Friday ratified a four-year-contract that keeps them on stage through the orchestra’s 100th anniversary season. The new agreement freezes salaries for the 86 players at a $1,575 weekly minimum for the first year of the agreement. It requires one furlough week, a decrease from last season when musicians sat out for two weeks without pay. After the first year, salaries increase an average of 2.5 percent each season and the furloughs end. Most players earn more than the minimum because of seniority or their title in the orchestra. ‘That we have reached this agreement in a really positive, constructive and respectful fashion speaks volumes about the high level of trust and confidence that we all have in each other,’ said Mark C. Hanson, the symphony’s executive director and CEO. … Negotiations began in July and took place during difficult economic times for the orchestra’s bottom line. … The contract implies that fortunes will improve for the symphony even as it embarks on a five-year plan to stabilize finances, decrease debt, and increase donations and ticket revenue. The contract takes effect Sunday, two days before the Houston Symphony is set to embark on its first European tour in a decade.”

Photo of Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony at Carnegie Hall by Chris Lee

Posted October 4, 2010