US orchestra awards 8 percent pay increase

US orchestra awards 8 percent pay increase


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2016

While Fort Worth and Pittsburgh are on strike to resist an imposed wage cut, musicians of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine have been offered jam today, jam tomorrow.

The musicians have signed a four-year deal, involving a four percent rise this year, and another four percent next.

That sows confidence.

The PSO is a fairly modest operation, running on $2 million a year. The music director is Robert Moody. The executive director is Carolyn Nishon.



  • Jay Shulman says:

    When I played with the Portland Symphony in 1970, the pay was $ 10 per rehearsal and $ 14 a concert.


    However modest the orchestra looks on paper, PSO became an excellent group capable of mounting international level performances of major repertoire. Standing out in my memory are performances of Mahler 7, Britten’s War Requeim, Nielsen’s 4th, and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, all done with Toshi Shimada during a period of terrific growth in the 80’s and early 90’s.

  • Milka says:

    To compare the PSO to a major symphony orchestra is misleading . It is in essence
    a “pick up orchestra”and its pay scale is based quite differently than let us say that of
    Boston or Pittsburgh.

  • Peter H. Gistelinck says:

    Just FYI; we at the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra landed as well on a four year CBA last September, with ‘real’ raises as well ranging from 6% to 12% over the duration of the contract including signing bonuses up to $4,000.

  • Doug says:

    Definitely not apples and oranges comparing a per-service orchestra to a full time salaried one.

  • John William says:

    I feel to see anywhere that the author is offering a comparison between a full-time salaried orchestra and a per service orchestra.

  • John says:

    The PSO operating budget is $3.3 million (the 2 million figure is in error). It is a member orchestra of ROPA (Regional Orchestra Players Association). The orchestra has operated in the black for many years now. As a result it is making a bigger investment in its membership with this new contract. Very positive news