Fort Wayne Philharmonic finalizes contracts

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After more than nine months of negotiations, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra Inc. finalized its new one-year contract on Friday. The contract goes into effect immediately and will run through December 31, 2014.

According to Philharmonic officials, the terms of the contract include a reduction in guaranteed weeks from 40 to 33 per season, amounting to a 17.5 percent reduction in guaranteed musician salary. Officials said this is similar in scope to cuts in total compensation and benefits taken by members of the administrative staff.

Employer contributions to health insurance for musicians will be maintained at current levels, and the full-time core will remain unchanged at 41 musicians.

“We are profoundly grateful to our musicians for their spirit of shared sacrifice. Like so many cultural organizations around the country, The Phil struggles to balance our artistic aspirations with the economic challenges. I knew that both sides needed to give some in order to make this work.This agreement speaks volumes of The Phil’s commitment to each other as an institution and to the northeast Indiana region. Efforts to present musicians with the most favorable contract possible were bolstered by a four-year, $500,000 gift made by the Madge Rothschild Foundation. The gift was made expressly for the purpose of lessening the impact on musicians as the orchestra moves toward a positive position. This gift was a key component to allowing us to reach an agreement and demonstrates the importance of community support for this incredible orchestra,” Fort Wayne Philharmonic President & CEO J.L. Nave III said.

“Artistic quality and financial sustainability, along with service to the community, are core to fulfilling our mission. We have been inspired by those that have expressed their admiration for our music and educational programs. We now need to turn that enthusiasm into tangible financial commitments from our community, which I’m confident will occur,” Carol Lindquist, Fort Wayne Philharmonic Board Chair, said.

The Philharmonic Board is also finalizing plans on how to eliminate its $2.3 million debt.

The Phil’s 2013-2014 season includes 20 orchestra and more than 100 ensemble performances throughout northeast Indiana over the next 11 weeks.

The Phil held a concert Sunday afternoon at IPFW entitled “Peter and the Wolf” which was storybook themed. The next show is on March 1 at IPFW’s Auer Performance Hall. The show will be programed by The Phil’s patrons. It’s a combination of songs people have voted on  and will start at 10 a.m.

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