US orchestra settles dispute with 10.4% pay rise

US orchestra settles dispute with 10.4% pay rise


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2017

The Pacific Symphony, which has been out of contract for six months and almost went on strike, has settled its differences with the musicians.

The deal entails gradual pay rises over five years.

Details here.




  • Olassus says:

    High time the board of this orchestra moved to upgrade their music director.

    This guy, Carl St. Clair, has overrrrrrrrstayed!

    Classic example of the smooth talker and the visionless trustees — a lot like Seattle with Gerard Schwarz. It’s not that St. Clair is bad (he’s OK). It’s that this orchestra could do so much better with its budget, if it only had an executive director with artistic credentials.

    One nice trustee there once told me St. Clair had conducted the Berlin Philharmonic! Wow — only she meant the Orchester Komische Oper Berlin and didn’t know the difference.

    • Michael says:

      It’s interesting that you mention this, since I was thinking about this very thing only yesterday. I’m not sure what they see in St. Clair. I guess early on he had somewhat of a name for programming new works, but that hasn’t been a major part of what they do. It seems like his career has been almost non-existent outside of the Pacific Symphony for some time now. It seems that they could go so much further with someone else. He’s been there way too long.

    • eric evans says:

      St Clair headed the Komische Oper Berlin between 2008 and 2010. Past Music Directors include Kurt Masur, Yakov Kreizberg and Kirill Petrenko…..not a bad pedigree for an opera house at all!

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      Wasn’t he GMD there for a while?

  • DrummerMan says:

    No mention of whether the musicians have to play a certain number (or percentage) of services offered to them in order to stay on the roster. That is important.

    • Bruce says:

      Was that an issue in the negotiations?

      • Bob Thomas says:

        Yes, it was an important issue in the negotiations. Read the linked story — Paul Hodgins does a good job of explaining the whys and hows of the settlement.

        • Bruce says:

          Hmm. I saw a good bit about service guarantees but nothing about how many of their guaranteed services the musicians have to play. (My orchestra has service guarantees and you are expected to play 100% of the season — meaning, in practice, that you can request leave for anything, but it can be denied unless the reason is that your primary employment requires it.)

  • John says:

    I lived in Orange County in the 80s when it was more or less a pickup band. Is it still?

    • M2N2K says:

      Is it still more or less? It’s both. Now it is less of a pickup band which makes it more than a pickup band.