Indianapolis Symphony proposes major cuts in musicians contract

Posted on: August 29, 2012

In Wednesday’s (8/29) Indianapolis Star, Jay Harvey writes, “The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is seeking to shrink the orchestra, cut pay and truncate the season, according to the five-person committee that negotiates on behalf of the orchestra musicians’ union. According to committee chairman Rick Graef, a horn player with the ISO for the past two decades, management wants to reduce the number of musicians under contract from 87 to 63, cut wages by 45 percent, reduce the schedule from 52 to 36 weeks and revisit the terms of the musicians’ pension. … Graef said the musicians have offered 14 weeks of unpaid furlough for each member of the orchestra to be taken over a five-year period along with other concessions that would, according to the union, save the ISO $3.2 million. … Speaking by phone Tuesday afternoon, ISO Communications Director Jessica Di Santo said, “Negotiations are ongoing, and we’re hopeful an agreement can be reached.” … The proposed budget cuts come against a backdrop of recent cost reductions: According to ISO tax returns, the orchestra cut expenses by nearly 30 percent between 2008 and 2010, from $35.6 million to $25.2 million. … Jesse Rosen, [president and CEO] of the League of American Orchestras, a service organization for orchestra administrators, musicians and board members, said: ‘All orchestras are facing this economy to one degree or another, and recovering is harder than it used to be. They are facing different challenges in each community—in terms of wealth, music education, quality of leadership.’ ”

Posted August 29, 2012