Australian orchestra leaves musicians without pay

Australian orchestra leaves musicians without pay


norman lebrecht

April 14, 2020

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will lay off its musicians next week.

The board said: ‘Unfortunately it is with great regret that we have no other option at this time than to enact a stand down of our musicians in accordance with the Fair Work Act.’

Twelve admin staff have already been stood down.



  • Sue Sonata form says:

    Not true. The Australian government is paying compensation for people who lose their jobs due to the pandemic.

    • Gordon says:

      Do you have any idea what fraction of their salary the government is going to pay as a part of its scheme? It’d be like less than half. Do you know that the players in MSO have not been able to prepare for this situation in advance because their administration told them specifically that they’d be kept on the books (on a reduced salary which would still be better than what the government would offer) for months, only to have had the rug pulled from under them? Do you realise the government JobKeeper funds won’t be actually available for weeks and weeks? Do you have any idea how many hours on how many days spread over how many weeks it takes to deal with the ridiculous application process for any Australian government funds of this nature through Centrelink? You have no idea Sue, at the best of times. Do try not to downplay issues for which you have absolutely no idea about with a childish throwaway comment.

  • Disgruntled fan says:

    A poor look for an orchestra that receives almost $15m (40% of budget)in government funding per year. Making a profit by ignoring the heartbeat of an organisation is a devastating decision.

  • Greg T says:

    This is just so sad; the MSO exhibited extraordinary courage and determination in the wake of last month’s shutdowns and were at the forefront of presenting online music offerings, free of charge, in Australia.
    Word is that the SSO continues to pay their permanents full salary…let’s hope both orchestras not only survive but thrive on the other side.

  • Michael says:

    The Age is reporting that the decision came after the players offered to take a 50% pay cut — and think that by standing them down instead the MSO could still turn in a surplus this year!

  • Rob says:

    There is no confidence in the MSO from the musicians of the orchestra . There is no way that the orchestra can work and rebuild with the current leadership team. Sponsors , subscribers have lost confidence as well. Over 6,500 have already signed a petition started 3 days ago to ask the board to resign.

  • Rob says:

    Please read this petition link for more information about the MSO stand down.