Management and musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have settled a
new contract more than a year before the current one expires.
The agreement calls for a 4 percent wage increase for the 2013-2014 season,
a wage freeze in 2014-2015 and a 3 percent increase in 2015-2016.
The annual base salary for 2013-2014 will be $104,114, and the current
number of musicians, 99, will be maintained.
Two years ago the musicians, who are members of Local 60-471 of the American
Federation of Musicians, accepted a 9.7 percent wage reduction for the first
two years of a three-year agreement, with a wage reopener in the third year,
which is this one. Today’s agreement essentially bypasses the third year of
the current contract and begins again under the new provisions.
“It won’t get us back to where we were, but it gets us close,” said bass
player Micah Howard, the musicians’ union representative. “In the climate
we’re in now, this is a great contract. It keeps the PSO as a destination
for the world’s best talent.”
He was referring to several other orchestras across the country that have
endured bankruptcy, strikes, a lockout and a cancelled season.
James A. Wilkinson, Pittsburgh Symphony president and CEO, said PSO members
make up “one of the best orchestras in the world. It’s extremely important
we continue to reward them by keeping their salaries within the top 10 in
“We lost one musician to Chicago last year [violinist Sylvia Kim] and are
losing another to New York [violinist Shaun Shaun Yo],” he said. “We don’t
want to lose any more, and in fact are in the midst of hiring now.”
The PSO has had a string of deficit years on its roughly $31 million budget.
Its last fiscal year, ending in August 2012, showed a deficit of about $3.5
Mr. Wilkinson has said he wants to have a balanced budget in 2014-15. If the
orchestra is able to do that for three seasons in a row, he said, it will
qualify for the last $12 million of a $29.5 million gift by the Simmons
Family Foundation, given to the PSO in 2006.