Tag Archives | Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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An Updated Look At Top-Tier Musician Compensation 2016

Currently, two of the top eight orchestras with the highest base musician annual salary are negotiating new collective bargaining agreements: National Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra. Interestingly enough, both of these ensembles are in positions where the outcome of those negotiations will likely have a larger impact on their future competitiveness than some of the upcoming negotiations for their peers. In order to visualize these distinctions, here’s a chart illustrating the current “Big Eight” base musician annual salaries from the 2009/10 season through those with agreements reaching out to the 2017/18 season. Over […]

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Big 8 Base Musician Salary

Let’s Take A Look At Big Eight Musician Compensation

Now that Cleveland has settled, we can begin to get a sense for how base musician compensation compares across the highest tier of big budget orchestras, which we’ll call The Big Eight (Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, LA, National, New York, Philly, and San Francisco). Granted, we’ll be updating this chart with Cleveland’s figures once that data is available and when it is, it will be interesting to see how they compare with Philly, their nearest compensation neighbor. But for now, this should give you a sense for how these groups compare. Caveats. Why Did […]

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Chicago Settles

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) becomes the latest group from our list of mid to large budget orchestras with expired agreements to reach a settlement. The rumor mill was rife with fodder about a potential showdown over the musicians’ defined benefit pension but when the dust settled, the retirement benefit ended up with an improvement. Terms of the new three-year agreement will be enacted retroactively to 9/13/2015 and includes modest increases in base musician wages and no changes to health care benefits. Here’s a breakdown of monetary conditions: 2015-2016: one percent increase […]

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Play and Talk

Negotiation Update: Philly Enters Limited Play & Talk, Chicago Lyric Settles, And More

Following up on our 9/14/2015 list of orchestras with expired agreements, here’s an overview of what’s been going on. Philadelphia Orchestra The employer and musicians initially announced a limited play and talk agreement that will take them through Monday, 9/28/2015, which should come as no surprise that the date falls just after the orchestra is scheduled to perform for Pope Francis. Since then, both sides have agreed to continue the arrangement without a specific end date. Peter Dobrin authored a detailed report for the 9/21/2015 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer that covers […]

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HR Matters

Another Example Behind Why HR Policies Matter

Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) bassist Michael Hovnanian published an article at his blog, Bass Blog, on 8/8/2015 that references some recent CSO Ravinia Festival events. Shortly after the piece was published, several dozen musicians and orchestra managers reach out to me via private messages expressing varying degrees of concern over the content and tone of Hovanian’s piece. One item in particular from the original version was referenced by a number of individuals and in the process of reaching out to Hovnanian to learn more and for clarification, we ended up exchanging a series of […]

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