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BSO musicians reach agreement for new contract three months early

Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

For the second year in a row, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians have ratified a one-year contract with management three months before the old one expires.

Like the agreement reached last year*, the new one, which begins Sept. 11 and runs until Sept. 9, 2018, includes a pay raise. Minimum weekly scale will rise from $1,560 to $1,591.20.

The contract ratification was announced Friday.

“We will be doing a new strategic plan that will involve representatives of all stakeholders — board, musicians, staff and community leaders,” said Peter Kjome, who became BSO president and CEO in February. “And this contract is a great opportunity to work together on that process. My sense is that next year we would work toward a multi-year agreement.”

Greg Mulligan, chair of the BSO Players Committee, said that the one-year contract “makes sense for us because Peter is still new and because we haven’t done a strategic plan in a while. Since the day Peter arrived, we have had a very open and honest conversation.”

In a statement, music director Marin Alsop described the orchestra’s “collaborative spirit” of music-making as the “same spirit [that] has helped support the fine work of all involved in reaching agreement.”

Starting about 15 years ago, salaries of BSO musicians took a series of hits during financial downturns for the organization. The process of regaining lost ground began with a three-year deal ratified in 2013, but annual base salary still lags behind that of several orchestras of similar budget size and artistic caliber.

Base salaries are above $100,000 at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra, for example. The annual base salary in the new BSO contract will be $82,742.

*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when the BSO reached an agreement for a contract last year. The Sun regrets the error.

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