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Boston Symphony Orchestra Approves New Labor Agreement

The orchestra has announced a new three-year labor agreement with its musicians, effective as of August 28, 2023


The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) musicians and board of trustees have ratified a three-year labor agreement.

The new contract, which will come into effect from August 28, 2023, aims to restore traditional annual wage growth and involves a “catch-up” increase for BSO’s musicians. This follows the three-year pause in their wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under their previous contract approved in 2020, the orchestra musicians took a salary reduction averaging 37% in the first year. According to the Berkshire Eagle, the 2020 base salary for the BSO’s 92 full-time musicians was $120,000.

The new contract will offer artistic management, greater flexibility in scheduling concerts, plus aims to advance the BSO’s goals for financial sustainability in the long run.

Further, this agreement reflects the shared commitment between BSO’s musicians, trustees, and management to the future of the orchestra.

“We are very pleased to have forged this new agreement in a spirit of genuine cooperation and goodwill and are collectively excited to open a new chapter in the BSO’s long and storied history with a new three-year labor contract,” reads a joint statement by Barbara Hostetter, BSO Board Chair; Todd Seeber, BSO Players Committee Chair; and Pat Hollenbeck, President of the Boston Musicians Association

“The contract’s terms recognize the financial sacrifices the orchestra made during the pandemic and their extraordinary contributions to making the BSO one of the world’s most preeminent orchestras and teaching organizations,” the statement continued. 

“The agreement also responds to the need for greater flexibility in scheduling Boston Symphony and Boston Pops concerts to meet the evolving audience demand for live music performances in the post-pandemic world. Performing orchestral music in-person remains at the center of the BSO’s mission, and this agreement will ensure that we can continue to do that at the highest level for years to come. 

“We are especially proud to have reached a mutually satisfying agreement three weeks before the current contract was set to expire through a deeply collaborative process that strengthened our positive working relationship. We all agree that both the process and the outcome are ‘wins’ for the organization and audiences alike, and we look forward to continuing to work together collegially to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of the Boston Symphony.”

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