Minnesota Orchestra musicians earn modest pay raises in new contract
After hiring its promising new music director over the summer, the Minnesota Orchestra will kick off its new season on Friday with a new four-year musicians’ union contract that gives its players 2.5% annual salary increases. at 3%.
“The musicians are very pleased with this agreement which allows the Minnesota Orchestra to continue to serve the community at the highest artistic level,” Timothy Zavadil, chairman of the musicians’ negotiating committee and clarinetist/bass clarinetist, said in a statement.
Announced at noon on Thursday and effective immediately, the new contract replaces a shorter two-year agreement signed during the COVID-19 pandemic in September 2020, which required a 25% pay cut for musicians until full return. public.
With relatively strong attendance again – this weekend’s performances with New Orleans legend Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are almost sold out – the musicians were able to make modest gains in the new contract, which is valid until August 31, 2026 They will see a salary increase of 2.5% in the 2022-23 season, followed by 2.76% in 2023-24, then 3% in 2024-25 and 2025- 26.
The new contract comes eight years after the orchestra ended a 15-month lockout that made headlines over contract disputes with musicians. This summer’s negotiations seemed to carry a much brighter tone than that dark period for the Minneapolis-based organization.
“These were collegial and productive negotiations,” Minnesota Orchestra board chairman Joseph T. Green said in a statement.
“The Orchestra has navigated the deepest challenges of the pandemic with a flexible, creative and collaborative approach, and the same spirit has prevailed in these negotiations. We appreciate the strong partnership we have enjoyed with our musicians as we carefully manage the finances of the Orchestra at the same time as we maintain our commitment to the highest levels of musical art.”
News of the contract adds to the hopeful buzz that followed the orchestra’s July announcement of its new music director, Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård. Only the 11e musical director of the 120-year history of the Minnesota Orchestra, the 52-year-old maestro replaces the popular and formidable Osmo Vänskä, who held this position for 19 years.
Yet the orchestra faces challenges. Before COVID-19 hit, it posted an operating deficit of $8.8 million for fiscal 2019, the largest in its history.
The musicians’ pay cuts were part of a $5 million cost cut for fiscal 2021, orchestra representatives reported at the time, but the nonprofit still posted a loss operating revenue of $6.3 million last year coming out of the pandemic.