NY Philharmonic leads way back to full pay for musicians

NY Philharmonic leads way back to full pay for musicians


norman lebrecht

June 14, 2022

The orchestra, which slashed base pay by 25 percent during the Covid pandemic, has decided to restore full pay for musicians from September, two years ahead og schedule.

The orchestra will then be opening in its refurbished hall (pictured), itself a year ahead of plan.

Could be the good times are coming back.

Press release below.

June 13, 2022


The New York Philharmonic has announced the restoration of the Orchestra musicians’ salaries and seniority and overscale payments to their pre-pandemic levels. When COVID-19 shuttered New York City venues in 2020, NY Phil musicians and management agreed to significant reductions in pay in order to allow the organization to withstand an unprecedented 18-month period of concert cancellations. Today’s announcement brings the minimum base salary back up to 100 percent of the 2019–20 season scale (i.e. $2,952.00 per week).

This restoration will be effective as of September 21, 2022, rather than with the conclusion of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, on September 20, 2024. It was made possible by the Philharmonic’s improved financial position and its positive outlook for the coming seasons as it returns to a newly renovated David Geffen Hall in October.

“Our Orchestra has weathered these past few years with loyalty, dedication, and sacrifice, hoping that the return to our home at David Geffen Hall would be the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Philharmonic Board Co-Chairmen Peter W. May and Oscar L. Tang. “With that hope becoming a reality sooner than anticipated, we are delighted to be able to acknowledge the musicians’ commitment to this institution in this way.”

Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic’s Linda and Mitch Hart President & CEO, said: “As we prepare to move into the new David Geffen Hall, and as the New York Philharmonic continues its recovery, we are so pleased to be able to restore our musicians’ salaries and overscale to 100 percent. We are grateful to our musicians for their partnership and collaboration as we worked together to navigate through a time of great uncertainty.”

Associate Principal Trombone Colin Williams, Chair of Orchestra Committee, said: “This is a momentous day for the New York Philharmonic. Not only will the musicians be made whole from the cuts of the last two years, but we can also look to the future with confident enthusiasm. Two years ago, the musicians of the Philharmonic made a significant sacrifice because of their determination to bring music and life to our community despite the challenges of COVID and being displaced from our hall. Our efforts, combined with the support of our steadfast Board and Staff, have laid the foundation for a new and brighter future. We musicians look ever forward to adding to the incredible tapestry that makes New York the most exciting place in the world.”

AFM Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi said: “We are thrilled that the New York Philharmonic has honored its obligation to restore full compensation to the Orchestra. The pandemic forced musicians to make extremely painful sacrifices, yet we never lost hope that live music would return. Now that our city is reopened and audiences have come back, we applaud the New York Philharmonic for supporting its musicians, who are the reason that New York City is the cultural capital of the world.”


  • bet says:

    A bit premature? Now that the stock market just fell into bear territory yesterday, historically a prelude to a global recession?

    There ain’t gonna be bagfuls of money coming from Wall Street to the Upper West Side for quite a while to come…

    And with the Philharmonic’s new emphasis on diversity, it ain’t the diversity crowd that’s going to be throwing Benjamins at the Philharmonic.

    • Mary says:

      Precisely because we’re headed into a recession that they should pay their employees their full salary now. As it is with the current inflation of 9%, it’s as though they were getting paid only 91% of their originally negotiated salary.

      (Btw, expect ticket prices to go up 10% at the start of the new season.)

    • John Kelly says:

      Thank you Debbie Downer….

    • A Pianist says:

      If you think Wall street is not going to just get richer from this recession you are a fool.

  • music lover says:


  • Peter says:

    Good times for who exactly?

  • Althea T-H says:

    If the well-paid NY Phil musicians and their union want to learn the meaning of the phrase ‘extremely painful sacrifice’, I suggest that they try life as a British freelancer – if they can hack it.

  • Wise Guy says:

    It’s about time. NY Phil Musicians were being taken advantage of under the excuse of Wuhan Virus state of emergency.