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Symphony musicians, management reach contract agreement

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Monday, June 10, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra management and musicians have agreed on a new three-year contract which takes effect on Sept. 2, 2013, and extends to Sept. 4, 2016.

The new agreement restores most of the 9.7 percent pay cut from the first two years of the current three-year contract, which began in September 2011 and left compensation for the 2013-14 season undefined.

“I am very pleased that we were able to come to this agreement,” said symphony president James A. Wilkinson. “I really do think the musicians deserve a lot of credit. They pushed for this agreement and have been extremely positive throughout the entire process. Both sides were.”

Musicians will receive a 4 percent increase in base pay for the 2013-14 season to $104,114, the same pay the following season, and a 3 percent increase for the final year of the contract to $107,237.

Base pay is currently $100,111. It was $110,854 for 2010-11. Many musicians earn more than base pay for holding a named or solo chair, for their years of service and for other factors.

“We're very thankful for this settlement, very happy that it moves us forward in the right direction — keeping this orchestra a top-tier, world-class ensemble,” said bass player Micah Howard, chairman of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Committee. “It's a morale booster for us because it indicates this organization wants to stay a destination orchestra for the best musicians.”

Other terms of the new agreement include changes to work rules, increases to other financial terms including retirement benefits, and maintenance of the size of the orchestra at 99 performing musicians plus two librarians.

“We're looking to hire musicians and know we need to be competitive,” Wilkinson said. “We'll be hiring at least two celli, subs and vacancies in horns and violas and probably another violin audition before the end of the year.”

Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or

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