New York City Ballet threatens the musicians it refuses to pay

New York City Ballet threatens the musicians it refuses to pay


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2021

Two weeks ago the company told its musicians they would not receive pay for the past 18 months.

Now it is informing them of disciplinary action if they do not return to work.


To the NYCB Orchestra Committee:

    It has come to our attention that you are instructing orchestra members not to submit attendance sheets for the Fall Season.  That action violates the no-strike provision of our CBA, and the Ballet will seek damages against the union and union representatives unless the Committee reverses that instruction.  In addition, orchestra members who comply with that instruction will be disciplined.  We are forwarding this email to each member of the orchestra to ensure that they understand the consequences that will result from complying with the Committee’s instruction.”



Brooks Parsons

Senior Director of Operations



Only in America?


  • anon says:

    why wouldn’t they return to work? while there is still work before NYC is shut down again by the delta variant.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Where else could you not be paid for 18 months and then be expected to work via threats? I hope that the union and the musicians tell them to get lost they are surely in breach of contract.

  • christopher storey says:

    It seems that Brooks Parsons doesn’t even have the intelligence to realise that most of the musicians have gone elsewhere – and that those who haven’t soon will do so as a result of his stupid behaviour

  • Barry Biker says:

    NYCB’s attitude toward the orchestra seems to be “It’s nothing personal. It’s just business, Sonny.”

    The company has a rich endowment. It should pay the orchestra and anyone else who it promised to pay.

  • ashes abound says:

    Dour Lincoln Center is looking more like the ovens of Dachau the way the opera and ballet are being dictated to.

    At least the Met is now manifesting their future with the Verdi Requiem. It certainly worked handily for Levine.

    Perhaps the ballet should simply leave mounds of shoes and the like outside each archway.

    • Save the MET says:

      Gelb’s Delta super-spreader Requiem event. A colossally stupid move putting a large orchestra on a stage with a large chorus and soloists. Then again, what orchestra? He hasn’t reached an agreement with the union. No one seems to remember that one of the easiest ways to spread covid is via singing. It unfortunately may be a requiem for some on the stage and in the audience.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Never ever use that metaphor.

      • Robert Roy says:

        My thoughts exactly!

        • Tiredofitall says:

          Yet there are 5x as many likes as dislikes for the Save the METS post. It speaks to ignorance and insensitivity in our world.

          • Brettermeier says:

            “Yet there are 5x as many likes as dislikes for the Save the METS post. It speaks to ignorance and insensitivity in our world.”

            As I said before: The like/dislike system here on slippedisc is broken. Likes and dislikes are passed upwards. Dislike my post, you also dislike everything above it. Including your own comment. Try it. Downvote this comment and reload the page and see what you really voted for.

          • Brettermeier says:

            “Yet there are 5x as many likes as dislikes for the Save the METS post”

            Yeah, well, I commented on possible reasons exactly where I do it now, but MYSTERIOUSLY, that comment was never published.

            That, of course, means SOMEONE with the power to withhold comments also was able to reproduce the bug and is working TIRELESSLY to fix it. Right?!?

          • Tiredofitall says:

            “ashes abound”, not “Save the Met”. I apologize for my error.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Sorry…I meant “ashes abound”, not “Save the MET”.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Uh… Why are you showing a photo of the eyesore of the Met when NYCB has its own glorious theatre, 90° to the left?

  • BRUCEB says:

    “Only in America?” God, I hope so. I’d hate to think this kind of thing goes on elsewhere (although I’m sure it probably does).

    “No strike” provisions in a master agreement usually depend on both sides behaving themselves. If management throws the agreement, or that clause of it, out the window first, then musicians are under no further obligation to follow the now-obviously-defunct rules.

    I would assume/hope that the NYCB’s orchestra has such a clause in their contract.

  • David A. Boxwell says:

    “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

  • JoshW says:

    Now that their brothers and sisters in the Met Orchestra have let them down, there’s not much hope for them to improve their situation. And it has to be asked again: Where has their music director been during all of this??