New three-year contract for Nashville Symphony musicians: pay cuts in first year, followed by catch-up raises

Posted on: July 29, 2021

The Nashville Symphony and Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. Photo courtesy of Nashville Symphony.

“The union representing Nashville Symphony players has agreed to pay cuts following the mass furloughs last July. A new contract has been ratified with a 7% reduction in pay for the first year,” reports Blake Farmer in Tuesday’s (7/27) Nashville Public Radio. “But the deal announced Tuesday is also structured to have large annual raises, so players who were supposed to be making a base pay of $70,000 this year will catch up in about three years. The 83 members have until next week to sign their personal contracts. Many have suffered and been forced to sell their homes or go into a new career, [violist Melinda Whitley, who led the negotiations] says…. Musicians were furloughed last July. Then, they started receiving a $500 stipend in January and performing limited duties. Their health insurance was covered throughout the pandemic. The symphony was recently awarded $4.6 million in federal help for venue operators with a typical concert schedule resuming in September…. ‘We recognize that [the past year] has been especially difficult for our musicians,’ Pamela Carter, chair of the Nashville Symphony’s board of directors, says in a statement. ‘This agreement represents the most essential step … as it enables the musicians’ return to the stage.’ ”