Symphony, Musicians, Announce Contract Agreement

The way to success is finally clear for the San Antonio Symphony, which faced the possibility of going out of business earlier this year due to financial problems, and a dispute with it's musicians, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Local 23 of the American Federation of Musicians reported today it has reached a contract agreement with the San Antonio Symphony board, and the agreement has been ratified by the rank and file.

The contract requires that all 72 musicians who are members of the Symphony be retained.  At one point during the symphony's struggles, it had been suggested that the city couldn't afford a full, world class symphony, and should rebrand as a smaller 'chamber orchestra.'

The contract also sets a minimum 30 week season for the symphony, running from September 2018 to mid-June 2019, but it allows work with other venues, like Bexar County's Suenos de Bejar and Opera San Antonio to count as work periods under the contract.

The musicians will make a base salary of $33,600 for that thirty weeks. Most symphony musicians make extra money, in some cases the majority of their income, working as music teachers.

“The board and management share the same goal as the musicians, to move forward in a period of continued growth and ever-improving health. We musicians are looking forward to another artistically successful season, and we expect to continue performing orchestral music at the highest level for our community," musician Mary Ellen Goree, who heads the union's Orchestra Committee, said of the agreement.

Since the Symphony's brush with death in January, much of the board has been replaced, and new sources of funding have been acquired.

“I am pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with our musicians and the Local 23 American Federation of Musicians with ease and timeliness, and I applaud the efforts of both the musicians’ negotiations committee and San Antonio Symphony Board. The changes made in this agreement will help position us to expand our reach within the Greater San Antonio Area through high-quality self-produced concerts and collaborative performances with our partner organizations.” said Interim Symphony Executive Director Karina Bharne.

Under the direction of acclaimed Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing, the San Antonio Symphony is considered to be one of the foremost classical orchestras in the United States.

IMAGE COURTESY: SAN ANTONIO SYMPHONY

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