US orch decides not to cut players’ wages

US orch decides not to cut players’ wages


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2016

Having brought the musicians to their knees under threat of closure, the Fort Worth Symphony now says it won’t enforce the wage cuts it extracted.

That’s a relief for the musicians. Their families can still eat. But the longterm future looks bleak in Fort Worth.

Report here.

fort worth Symphony protest 005


  • Eric says:

    I have to wonder what the salaries of the Symphony board members are?
    If ANY of them are making more than any musician in the Orchestra, that’s a filthy shame!!!

    Yes, the management board works to support the Orchestra, but without the Orchestra, there would be no need for management.


    • Amy Adams says:

      Eric, board members are not paid by the organizations they serve. They are there on a volunteer basis, and usually tapped heavily for financial support.

      Management and staff, however, are paid. If the employee reviews on Glassdoor are any indication, it’s not exactly a thriving atmosphere, but rather a constantly revised list of temporary workers at the FWSO.

  • turbo22 says:

    I can’t believe how tone-deaf Norman can be. You do realize that there are people who labor under horrible conditions and are still unable to feed their families, yes? I know this isn’t the NY Phil, but these musicians are not making starvation wages. Would you acknowledge that someone making $60K who suffers an 8% wage reduction would probably still be able to feed her family? This kind of posturing makes people think the orchestral world is CRAZY and they are not wrong!

    • norman lebrecht says:

      The wage for a principal player in FW is, as stated previously, $30,000.

      • Max Grimm says:

        Not according to the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony…

        “Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) management continues to demand that musicians take an 8.7% pay cut. Musicians already took a 13.5% cut in 2010, saving the orchestra over $2.3 million to help with the bottom line.

        Typical musicians in the orchestra are paid $54,953 a year. Management’s proposal would reduce pay to $50,175 for the same amount of work. Salary hasn’t been this low since 2003. By comparison, minimum salary for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is $96,825.”
        (; click on “Facts” in the website’s top right corner

      • scott jessup says:

        Max Grimm is right. He got it correctly from our fact sheet. The figure of $30,000 for a principal player is absolutely false. Our current base pay scale is about $55,000 for a 46 week season. 6 weeks unpaid. A principal would be paid 25% over that per year.
        Please check out for more facts about our situation. I take GREAT exception to the statement that the musicians were “brought to our knees by threat of closure”. This is absolutely false too. On the contrary, it was our mgmt who rescinded their Final Offer and imposition of an 8.7% pay cut to offer the musicians this new deal after we pursued an aggressive campaign of labor actions to get them back to the table to negotiate. They’re the ones with sore knees!
        Scott Jessup, Chair of the Negotiating Committee