Kennedy Center musicians agree pay cut

Kennedy Center musicians agree pay cut


norman lebrecht

September 20, 2021

Musicians of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra have accepted a three-year deal which starts with a 9% cut in the first year. It is hoped that by the third year they will return almost to their pre-pandemic salary.

KenCen says: This sacrifice signifies a serious commitment on the part of these musicians and their families to assist their employer institutions during a period of unprecedented hardship.


  • Henry Renie says:

    This is quite a hardship for them.

  • a says:

    What has their salary been reduced to?

  • A Pianist says:

    My understanding (not super in the loop) is that the Kennedy, far above the other American arts centers, has received bailout after bailout due to its connections to federal power in Washington DC. Would love to see coverage explaining what the hell happened to all that money.

  • This for a company which in terms of number of performances has the equivalent of about an 8 week season. It pays its musicians accordingly, and how cuts their salaries further. And this in a city with the 14th largest GDP in the world.

    We only have 3 cities in the top 100 for opera performances per year. Meanwhile, Germany’s 83 opera houses owned and operated by the state have not cut, or only minimally cut, their musicians’ full time salaries and benefits. Similar story in most of Europe.

    But never mind, Washington has a military budget larger than the next 8 countries combined, and will blow the shit out of anyone who gives them any lip.

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      You raise a good point. The US military bands provide a good income and job security should that be the goal of a musician. Get in young, do 20 years, retire with your pension and you still have half your working life left to work for an orchestra that may have financial issues. But you can count on that government pension.

      • Just a mere 20 years in the prime of life. That also puts aside the morality of joining the military, though Americans are brainwashed to not see the issues involving their country’s militarism. In a military band, one is a soldier first and a musician second–something to consider. (If any band musicians are confused on that point, they get straightened out quickly with the usual military thuggery.)

        The US government spends three times more on military bands than it does the entire NEA, and I would guess about 10 times what the NEA spends on music. That says something about the USA.

  • CA says:

    And? Let’s hear what staff & management salaries have been cut and by how much and for how long. It’s only fair. Too many times the musicians are asked for bigger/longer lasting cuts than staff. And how about giving staff the same kind of benefits (pension & healthcare) as musicians? That’s only fair, too.

  • henry williams says:

    how do they pay their bills. on a lower