Baltimore Symphony musicians ratify contract; Midgette resigns from WaPO

Mon Sep 23, 2019 at 6:13 pm
Photo: BSO

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced Monday that management and members of the Musicians’ Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, Local 40-543, ratified their proposed one-year contract over the weekend. The agreement and the details of the contract were revealed at a joint press conference with leaders of both sides at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

One promising aspect of the agreement is that the musicians will be more fully involved in determining the direction of the orchestra. Representing management, BSO board chair Barbara Bozzuto said, “In the view of the board, the establishment of a Vision Committee is the most promising provision, as we are committed to including our musicians in additional aspects of planning, programming, fundraising and governance.”

Also present at the press conference were music director Marin Alsop, who will conduct the rescued first concerts of the new season starting September 27, and Baltimore City mayor Jack Young. BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome particularly thanked the private donors who came forward to support the musicians, saying “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of those who provided additional support to enable the BSO and our exceptional musicians to reach agreement.”

The one-year contract will be in effect through September 6, 2020, during which time both sides agreed not to call for any lockout or strike. The weekly pay scale will increase by 2.4% over 38 concert weeks plus two summer weeks. Musicians will receive bonus compensation for ten weeks of summer pay, provided directly by donors, plus four weeks of paid vacation during the season and time off in the summer. Base annual salary during the contract period would have been $84,696.04; however, due to the work stoppage, the base annual salary for 50 weeks is $81,438.50.”

BSO Players Committee Co-Chair Brian Prechtl stated, “The Musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra have felt an incredible outpouring of love and support from citizens in Baltimore City and across the state of Maryland this summer.” All involved are certainly relieved that the music will resume this week, at least for the year to come, although negotiations about charting the BSO’s future course will continue.

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Anne Midgette

Anne Midgette announced Monday that she will step down as classical music critic of the Washington Post effective November 22. Responding to online reports, Midgette said on social media that she wanted to use the time to work on completing a book, as well as spending more evenings with her young son.

The Washington Post appointed Midgette to the position of classical music critic in June 2008 after serving as interim critic for six months during the sabbatical of her predecessor, Tim Page. Midgette announced on social media that her family will remain in Washington for now, and that she plans to continue writing about music in other forms. The decision to leave, she also clarified, was entirely her own.


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