Pittsburgh players take deep cut, others refuse

Pittsburgh players take deep cut, others refuse


norman lebrecht

September 04, 2020

Musicians in the Pittsburgh Symphony have agreed a 25% cut in base salary in the 2020-21 season and a 50% cut in extras. Current base salary is $101,180. The orch is also making admin reduncancies. Read here.


Over in Knoxville, however, sacked musicians refused to be reinstated with a a 27.5% pay cut. They say:
On August 24, KSO management publicly announced the cancellation of the season and furlough of musicians through January 31, in violation of the current collective bargaining agreement. Privately, however, they contacted the musicians and said they would reinstate the season and hold concerts if the musicians would agree to a 27.5 percent pay cut.

“The movement to furlough us was a strong-arm tactic to force us to accept a drastic pay cut that would have made many musicians dependent on government assistance,” says Sam Chen, a member of the orchestra negotiating committee. “Musicians on salary would have been cut from $31,500 to $18,000 annually after health insurance costs.”




  • Jeff says:

    So ‘others’ means one?

  • mary says:

    The Heinz family ought to sell more ketchup to pay its musicians.

    • Bill says:

      The Heinz family does not own the orchestra and does not employ the musicians. It is named Heinz Hall because a member of the Heinz family stepped up in the late 1960s and funded the renovation of an old but opulent movie theater, slated to be torn down, into a concert hall for the orchestra.

    • John Kelly says:

      The Heinz company was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett) some years ago. Warren is now selling the ketchup and has joined Bill Gates and many others in giving away 90% of his money to the Gates Foundation.

  • MacroV says:

    I’m actually surprised Pittsburgh reduced pay only by 25% considering the level of activity has reduced far more than that. It’s a big hit to the musicians but their income after the cut is still someone one can live on. Knoxville was on subsistence wages even before.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    This is sad news indeed just as the orchestra is once again coming into critical acclaim with its recordings under Manfred Honneck.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Syria Mosque was good enough for Paul Paray and Buffalo Bill Steinberg.