Florida Orchestra musicians agree to pay cuts

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Orchestra is opening the 2010-11 season this week with a revised musicians' labor contract. Details have not been released by either the orchestra board and management or the musicians, but the bottom line will be less income for the musicians.

"We approached the musicians about a revision to the existing contract, and they agreed," said Michael Pastreich, president of the orchestra, who declined to elaborate on Wednesday.

Essentially, the contract revision will mean that the base salary for orchestra members will be $24,500 for 24 weeks of work during this season and 2011-12. That's a reduction from what had been planned, a 31-week season with minimum annual salary of $28,800. Some youth and parks concerts are likely to be canceled.

The contract's changes, which orchestra musicians ratified in a vote before their first rehearsal on Tuesday, and other budget cuts were inevitable. In the fiscal year that ended on June 30, the orchestra had a substantial deficit — as much as $750,000, Pastreich said in an interview in September. Those figures have not yet been released.

These are hard times for many orchestras. On Wednesday, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra canceled this weekend's concerts, the first casualties of the musicians' strike that began on Monday. The Detroit Symphony is projecting a $9 million deficit and has asked the players to take a 30 percent pay cut.

Guest conductor Thomas Wilkins will lead the Florida Orchestra in four concerts over the next four days, beginning tonight at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel.

John Fleming can be reached at fleming@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8716. He blogs on Critics Circle at tampabay.com/blogs/critics.

Florida Orchestra musicians agree to pay cuts 10/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 10:22pm]

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