Monday, September 26, 2011

Colorado Symphony pushes through half-million-dollar salary cuts

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM

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You've got to hand it to the Colorado Symphony Association for its ambitious attempt to put a positive spin on what is, at best, mixed news.

Followers of this blog may recall that last week, the Denver-based organization — which bills itself as the only full-time professional symphony in Colorado — was in protracted negotiations with the musicians union in an attempt to cut costs by reducing players' salaries.

The CSA has since announced that the union agreed to a total pay reduction of $530,000 in order to help balance next year's operating budget.

In a release headlined "COLORADO SYMPHONY ANNOUNCES POSITIVE VOTE FROM PLAYERS," the organization goes on to note that (emphasis mine):

"Prior to receiving this positive vote from the players, several resignations from the Board of Trustees were received and several were tendered at the meeting for a total of 20 resignations. An overall sentiment of appreciation and love for the orchestra was shared by all of those who issued resignation, and several specifically encouraged the organization to 'be bold, be brave, and be different.'”

Topping it all off, the orchestra's musicians have agreed to play without pay this weekend.

"The Board of Trustees has prioritized their workaround implementing a balanced and approved FY12 operating budget," concludes the CSA, "and establishing an environment of donor confidence which will assist with advancing major gifts to help solve cash flow issues."

It'll be interesting to see how donor confidence is affected by the fallout from a half-million-dollar salary reduction for musicians who were already making less than half of what their Dallas counterparts are paid.

My guess is that a sudden exodus of 20 trustees probably isn't a positive indicator for a "bold, brave, and different" future. Well, maybe different.

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