A British orchestra pays its freelancers

A British orchestra pays its freelancers


norman lebrecht

March 29, 2020

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has lost its summer’s work at Grange Opera, as well as the rest of its season.

Here’s what it’s telling freelance players:

As you know we have already announced the cancellation of our performances up until 5th April. We have now had to make the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our currently scheduled rehearsals and performances through to the end of this season.

I can confirm that we intend to honour the fee payments for all cancelled or postponed rehearsals and performances up to 30 April. I can confirm that BSO will reimburse out of pocket travel expenses already incurred for work through to the end of the season provided a claim is submitted with all relevant receipts.

Many of you will have, I am sure, seen the news that Grange Festival have cancelled their 2020 season. This work, which is not subject to direct Arts Council funding is therefore dependent on the fee income from Grange. Given Grange have had to cancel this contract with BSO, it is with great sadness that I to have to say we will not be able to pay any fees for this work.


  • WillymH says:

    Just wondering what is happening with the chorus, orchestra and dancers at Covent Garden and chorus and orchestra at ENO.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    This may be the last time that they could afford to be generous. The survival of no institution is guaranteed from this time. There is no point being judgemental in these circumstances.

  • Anon says:

    This is in line with how most contract orchestras in UK have treated their freelancers.

    Garsington has been cancelled and so has part of Glyndebourne- does anyone know whether the musicians (members or freelancers) of the Philharmonia and LPO will be paid?

    These opera festivals account for at least a quarter of the orchestra’s seasons – I am worried how much of their expected income the musicians booked for May-July will he paid for.

  • Delphine1962 says:

    Thank you very much for this message and for supporting the BSO, as well as so many other musicians – and also for the sympathetic and concerned replies so far.

    This may already have been circulated (my apologies in advance), but here is a link to the MU with details of petitions, advice and courses of action: