In Tuesday’s (5/11) News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), Rob Christensen reports, “The musicians of the North Carolina Symphony have agreed to a 15 percent salary cut during the next two seasons to help the debt-ridden orchestra recover from the severe economic downturn, symphony officials said Monday. The musicians’ union voted last week to ratify a contract modification that will enable the financially strapped symphony to save $1 million annually in the next two years. ‘It is a stunningly significant sacrifice from our 68-person orchestra,’ David Chambless Worters, the symphony’s president and CEO, said in an interview. ‘We would not be here right now without the musicians’ spirit of shared sacrifice, cooperation, and partnership,’ Worters said. The change will mean that the base pay for a symphony musician will drop from $59,400 per year to $47,956 per year. … Although he is not part of the musicians’ contract, star Welsh conductor Grant Llewellyn has agreed to a 10 percent pay cut, reducing his annual salary from $206,975 to $186,278. … The N.C. Symphony … has reduced its annual operating budget from $14.1 million to $11.6 million…through a series of austerity measures—cutting salaries, postponing expensive guest artists and declining to perform more elaborate pieces of music. … Worters said the symphony is now projected to break even for the first time in several years for the fiscal year that ends June 30. But he said the organization was still saddled with more than $3 million in debt borrowed from its line of credit to operate during the past several years.”

Posted May 11, 2010