The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and the Harrisburg Symphony Players Association have jointly announced ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement will cover a period of five years, through August 2024. Negotiations were completed in an atmosphere of cooperation and goodwill in August and early September. The Symphony Board of Directors ratified the agreement at their meeting on September 25; the musicians ratified the agreement on October 4.
Basic economic considerations in the new contract call for modest increases in the various components of musician compensation, including base scale for rehearsals and concerts, per diem, cartage and pension. Much of the language governing work rules was “cleaned up” in order to eliminate ambiguities and to bring dated language into compliance with current practice.
Symphony Board Chairman Stephen MacDonald hailed the new agreement as a positive move forward for the institution. “To be able to look out five years and understand what the cost of the orchestra will be is tremendously helpful to us in our planning. We are fortunate to have such a healthy relationship with our musicians. The Board and I believe we will continue to build on the progress we have made in recent years,” MacDonald stated.
Percussionist Chris Rose, Chairman of the Orchestra Committee and one of the lead negotiators for the musicians, commented that his colleagues were very happy with the outcome. “This agreement is an affirmation of the impressive gains that the orchestra has made in recent years, both artistically and organizationally. We love playing in Harrisburg and want to be an active participant in the continued growth and development of the institution. This agreement will help us forge an even more productive relationship with the music director, the management and the community.”
Maestro Stuart Malina, now in his 20th season as music director, could only agree with Dr. MacDonald and Mr. Rose: “From my vantage point, my relationship with the players has developed into something quite special. With the contract now settled for another five years, we can concentrate on music-making and institution building, without the distraction and potential divisiveness of a looming contract negotiation. I couldn’t be happier.”
Executive Director Jeff Woodruff added: “This is the fourth contract negotiation with the musicians that I have been involved in here in Harrisburg. Again, in spite of the complexities and potential pitfalls of the contract talks, the discussions went quickly and smoothly. The spirit of cooperation that was evident at the table is unprecedented in my experience. Of course I am very pleased to have these negotiations behind us. We will always have a lot of work to do to build a stronger, better orchestra. This agreement will help us do just that.”
The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra is celebrating three significant milestones this season: the Orchestra’s 90th season, Stuart Malina’s 20th season as music director, and the Harrisburg Symphony Society’s 30th season. The Symphony Society serves as the fund raising auxiliary for the Orchestra. For additional information on HSO concert dates and events, please log on to harrisburgsymphony.org or contact the Harrisburg Symphony Association at 717-545-5598.
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About HSO – Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra presents inspiring symphonic music performed by its professional orchestra along with educational programs for audiences of all ages to enrich the cultural life of Central Pennsylvania. This regional jewel of talent is made up of 140 world-class musicians and led by Tony Award-winning conductor Stuart Malina. In 2020, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 90th year as a professional orchestra based in Harrisburg.
A typical season includes seven pairs of Masterworks concerts, five pairs of concerts of the Capital BlueCross Pops Series, two Young Person’s Concerts for school age children, and free outdoor concerts in several communities over the July 4th weekend. In addition, the Symphony season includes a number of educational activities, including in-school performances and master classes featuring Harrisburg Symphony musicians.