Kansas City keeps its musicians on full pay

Kansas City keeps its musicians on full pay


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2020

The Kansas City Symphony Orchestra has guaranteed musician salaries and benefits until the end of the season.

‘Due to COVID-19, the Symphony has had to cancel or postpone more than 20 concerts and that loss of revenue is extraordinary,’ said Executive Director Danny Beckley. ‘Other orchestras have had to make difficult decisions regarding compensation. Thanks to many years of fiscal discipline, strong community support and an ongoing culture of collaboration and transparency between our musicians and leadership, we are pleased to announce that salaries and benefits will remain unchanged for the current season for both Kansas City Symphony musicians and staff. We are receiving a tremendous response from our patrons, offering new and increased philanthropic support for the Symphony during this unprecedented time by way of new gifts and donating unused tickets back to the Symphony. With this generous support, we will be able to emerge on the other side of this crisis with inspired strength to perform great music for our community once again.’



  • David says:

    Unpopular opinion. Not sure how much they make and how much is due to unions but they may actually be able to get MORE by being temporarily laid off vs paid by the orchestra…..

    $600 dollars a week from fed gov + max 488 Kansas benefits = $1088 per week.

    • James Scott says:

      The Kansas City orchestra is in Kansas City, Missouri not Kansas.

    • morten says:

      I believe their minimum salary is around $62,000 so I seriously doubt they would prefer to be laid off. Also, the orchestra is based in Missouri, not Kansas, though I’m sure many of them live in the Kansas suburbs.

  • Jill says:

    The Memphis Symphony Orchestra is apparently also in that boat of paying the musicians and benefits for the remainder of the season.

  • Bruce says:

    Most orchestras that don’t have a 52-week season only have about 6 weeks left anyway at this point. You wouldn’t think it would be a huge deal, but it does show you on what a razor-thin margin a lot of orchestras operate.

  • MusicMan59 says:

    So much uninformed opinion and inaccurate assumptions and statements (sadly typical not only for the forums on this website but for the site itself). Yes, the KC Symphony is in Missouri, not Kansas. No one in the orchestra would prefer not to be working, and put their livelihoods and their organization in peril. Artistically, they are superb, and no doubt want to continue as they were. And even a cursory glance at their website would see that their subscription season was due to end on June 21st, which contradicts David’s point — there are 12 weeks left to the season, and thereby makes this announcement rather extraordinary, given the current climate. This decision to support the musicians, in light of the draconian measures adopted by other orchestras around the country, is truly a testament to them, and I would guess, to the dedication of their Board of Trustees.