Indy will pay its musicians $500 a week

Indy will pay its musicians $500 a week


norman lebrecht

September 08, 2020

The embittered orchestra has accepted a one-year subsistence deal.

Press release:

Indianapolis…In a joint commitment to the long-term financial stability of the organization, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the ISO’s musicians have announced a 1-year agreement, providing both health benefits at no cost to the musicians and a financial stipend as part of a pathway to return world-class music to Central Indiana.

“Together, we are committed to bringing symphonic music back to downtown,” said James Johnson, CEO of the ISO. “We are deeply appreciative of the understanding and commitment of our talented musicians and pledge to work collaboratively to engage our patrons and greater community in new and meaningful ways.

“With today’s news, we can state unequivocally that the ISO is here to serve, and to stay,” Johnson added.

“As we work to re-emerge from this challenging period, the musicians wish to express our sincere appreciation to the ISO’s loyal patrons and donors for their past and ongoing support of our orchestra,” said Brian Smith, Orchestra Committee Chair. “We look forward to once again bringing great music to our beloved city as soon as possible.”

Terms of the agreement, which continues through August 29, 2021, include health coverage for musicians paid for by the ISO; a weekly payment of $500 to musicians beginning in January; and a commitment by the musicians to provide six weeks of performances and community engagement activities to connect the ISO with audiences. Musicians and staff will work together to come up with innovative, reimagined programming to continue to bring music to Central Indiana during the upcoming year. More details will be forthcoming.



  • Anon says:

    Nothing wrong with that – it’s what UK orchestras pay at the best of times.

  • Fred Funk says:

    So is Haircut MD out of the picture with the cancelled season? He’s supposed to be gone in 2021. (Coughs) What’s HIS stipend and medical plan? Is the Orchestra still on the hook for his car storage in Chicago? (EXTREME cough)…..

    • Liam Allan-Dalgleish says:

      Sarcasm should be sufficiently obvious so that even the dumbest, stupidest, most moronic genius should be able to catch a glimmer of the true meaning‍☠️

  • Player says:

    Hopefully this will allow musicians in the orchestra to keep paying their rent or mortgage.

    • CA says:

      It will most definitely help, but the $500 is pre-tax so it will be less than $2,000 net per month, for sure. It will still be very tight for everyone but especially for those whose households consist of just one wage earner/one income. At this level, no one will be eligible for unemployment. Yes, gratitude for what IS being provided here because in so many other cases, it is zero dollars for at least an entire concert season. Kudos to ISO for their generosity.

  • fflambeau says:

    If I were a musician there, I’d be looking elsewhere.

    • Bruce says:

      …because there are soooo many jobs available now. (The International Musician, the union paper for the US and Canada, where auditions are usually advertised, has no auditions listed this month, anywhere, for any instrument.)

      Indianapolis, by virtue of paying its musicians anything at all, is treating its musicians better than a lot of orchestras.

  • Sharon says:

    Player–this pittance will only help people pay their rent or mortgage if they live with someone who is still making a full salary. Also–it probably makes them ineligible for unemployment insurance but for musicians who can try to take on various forms of “gig” work (and not only in music) maybe the health insurance is more important.
    If they received US unemployment insurance they would not be able to easily afford to buy health insurance but would not be eligible for medicaid (free US health insurance for poor people)