Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ArtsBuzz: Cleveland Orchestra settles strike; Miami series will go on

Violinist Leila Josefowicz.

By Palm Beach ArtsPaper staff

The Cleveland Orchestra strike was settled early this morning after a one-day walkout when the two sides agreed to a new three year-contract that freezes wages for two years.

The agreement means the Miami residency for the orchestra, set to start Friday, will go forward as scheduled.

“We are very happy that management has heard our message and agreed not to further erode our base compensation, allowing us to stay as competitive as possible with the marketplace," oboist Jeffrey Rathbun, chairman of the musicians' committee, said in a statement.

The new contract, which extends through Sept. 2, 2012, freezes wages through August 2011, then increases them semiannually in 2012 at a rate of 3 percent, then 2 percent, officials said. Musicians will pay a larger amount toward their medical premiums beginning in July 2011, and donate up to 10 services, which will bring more revenue to the Musical Arts Association.

“Both sides worked effectively through a difficult process to reach an unprecedented agreement that will do much to help the association’s finances going forward," executive director Gary Hanson said in a statement. "I am very grateful for the musicians’ passion and abiding concern for the orchestra’s artistic excellence.”

Last month the union formally terminated a month-to-month contract extension under which they had been working since September. Local 4 of the American Federation of Musicians turned down a three-year contract in which the base scale portion of their compensation would be reduced by 5 percent in the first year, with a restoration in the second year and a 2.5 percent increase in the third year.

In 2009, median compensation was $140,200 a year. The proposal would have reduced that figure to $134,100, with benefits including a ten-week paid vacation and 26 weeks paid sick leave.

The strike postponed a residency at Indiana University in Bloomington that was scheduled to begin today. The new contract, which was ratified this afternoon in Cleveland, means that the orchestra's Miami residency can go on.

The first two concerts in the residency were are set for Friday and Saturday, and feature violinist Leila Josefowicz in the Violin Concerto of the contemporary British composer Thomas Adès. Also on the program were the Symphony No. 2 (in D, Op. 73) of Johannes Brahms, and the tone poem Don Juan, by Richard Strauss.

Further concerts are set for Jan. 28-30 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Arts in downtown Miami. Music director Franz Welser-Möst will conduct.

For more information, visti www.clevelandorchestramiami.com.

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