Pay cuts for Chicago Symphony musicians and staff, following cancellations during pandemic

Posted on: April 13, 2020

“Chicago Symphony Orchestra artistic and administrative personnel will take pay cuts in response to financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” writes Howard Reich in Friday’s (4/9) Chicago Tribune. “CSO music director Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra president Jeff Alexander each volunteered a 25 percent salary reduction…. CSO musicians will take a 20 percent wage reduction starting April 27, but they will retain all health care, insurance and retirement benefits….. The Chicago Symphony Chorus [and] members of the Civic Orchestra, the CSO’s training ensemble, also will see a 20 percent reduction…. Wages for Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association administrative staff also will be reduced, including a 20 percent cut for CSOA vice presidents, and 5 to 15 percent on a sliding scale for other full-time administrative staff, depending on salary level; they also will keep health care and other benefits. The CSOA … expects ‘significant financial losses for the 2019/20 season’ due to [cancellations] between March 12 and May 10…. ‘The musicians of the orchestra are committed to working with board of the CSOA and its leadership to address this crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ said CSO horn James Smelser, chair of the members’ committee of the CSO, representing the musicians.”