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The Philadelphia Orchestra Association and Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians Ratify New Contract

October 19, 2015

(Philadelphia, October 19, 2015)—The Philadelphia Orchestra Association announces the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement with the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Local 77 of the American Federation of Musicians, effective September 14, 2015, through September 11, 2016. The agreement was ratified by the Board of Directors of the Association and by the membership of the Orchestra.

Under the terms of the ratified one-year agreement, annual salaries for the musicians will rise 3%. In addition, the musicians’ healthcare will move to a consumer-driven plan, with the Association investing in health savings accounts for each musician. This change, brought about because of national healthcare cost trends, both ensures that individual musicians will have equivalent access to health providers, and the Association will achieve meaningful savings. The Association will audition for one position during the course of this contract, reducing the hiring freeze implemented in 2010 from 10 to nine positions. Some changes have also been made to contractual rules governing travel to reduce costs and ensure the viability of future international touring.

Philadelphia Orchestra Association Chairman Richard B. Worley said, “We appreciate the tireless efforts of both parties in achieving this contract. We all share a commitment to assuring the future of The Philadelphia Orchestra and are working toward the same goal—to keep this institution healthy for the next generation to also enjoy.”

The new contract comes three years after The Philadelphia Orchestra emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization and is an important milestone, marking a period of both strategic and artistic successes.

Allison Vulgamore, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra, said, “The dedication that both teams displayed throughout this negotiation process is a hallmark of our shared pride in The Philadelphia Orchestra. We present music of the highest quality to audiences in our home in Verizon Hall, in collective service to Philadelphia’s many neighborhoods, and to communities throughout the world. The new contract allows us to build on our current achievements and continue to design our future.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s momentum over the past five years has led to significant achievements, among them:

  • Using the Orchestra’s exceptional artistry to reimagine the orchestral experience, creating innovative, interdisciplinary “theater of a concert” performances that move beyond traditional concert format, notably the renowned productions of Bernstein’s Mass in 2015, Strauss’s Salome in 2014, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in 2013 and 2015, and the Stokowski Festival in 2012
  • Recent collaborations with over 50 local, national, and international partners that have extended the reach and enriched the presentation of symphonic repertoire
  • Ongoing global critical acclaim, particularly from recent European and Asian tours; and on the world stage in Philadelphia for the recent visit of Pope Francis
  • The appointment of Stéphane Denève as principal guest conductor, Cristian Măcelaru as conductor-in-residence, and Lio Kuokman as assistant conductor, who with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin comprise a conducting team of like-minded collaborators that brings continuity and excellence in artistic endeavors across seasons and venues
  • A Collaborative Learning program that serves as a catalyst for cultural activity, growing young musician talent and a love of classical music, nurturing and celebrating the wealth of musicianship in the Philadelphia region
  • A recently-announced partnership with Carnegie Hall to provide greater access to top musical training through the creation of NYO2 (National Youth Orchestra 2)
  • Forging a more dynamic relationship with the City of Philadelphia through PlayINs, free Neighborhood and PopUp concerts at the Kimmel Center and in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia, an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert at Girard College, and a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia
  • A growing audience of younger ticket buyers from a successful eZseatU college program and a robust Young Friends organization
  • Two recent recordings with Nézet-Séguin on the Deutsche Grammophon label, weekly radio broadcasts on WRTI, digital downloads, and an increasing online presence
  • Creating platforms to engage 21st-century audiences such as the LiveNote® app, which enlivens the Orchestra’s music for audiences in a new way
  • A commitment to commissioning new works, keeping new music alive for audiences, with three new works receiving world premieres in the 2015-16 season

As it concludes its recent five-year plan the Association measures success against a number of financial benchmarks, including:

  • The raising of more than $70 million in critical transformation funding over a six year period, through the generosity of its donors
  • More than $47 million raised in gifts and pledges during FY15 from over 7,200 donors
  • Since 2011, total Board contributions are up 35%, individual giving up 25%, and foundation support up by 33%
  • Contributions by the Board of Directors to the Annual Fund since fiscal year 2011 have increased by 92% to over $3,000,000
  • The Orchestra’s Annual Fund has increased by 41% between FY 10 and FY15
  • Since 2011, total earned revenue increased from 30% to 37% of total revenues
  • The need for extraordinary gifts to bridge funding, to close the budget gap according to the 2011 strategic plan, has declined by 54% between FY11 and FY15
  • The creation of a secondary market in China through significant partnerships and sponsorships and a long-term agreement with Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) that laid the groundwork for the Orchestra to create successful residencies in both major and provincial cities
  • Uniquely, the Association escrows all advance ticket sale revenues, holding them as deferred revenue until the concerts actually occur in the next season

“While these achievements are important to our long-term future, the careful financial stewardship of the institution must match our artistic excellence. With the contract extension of Yannick Nézet-Séguin through 2022, we are growing our network around the world and creating new revenue opportunities. We have one of the most dynamic music directors in all of classical music, and his passion, commitment, and absolute joy in the Philadelphia Sound is leading us to an even deeper connection with our many fans,” Vulgamore said.

“It is a fundamental reality that there is much still to do,” Vulgamore continued. “That said, we can take heart that the next phase of our strategic planning initiatives will build upon a more solid foundation than when we began our turnaround work. We look forward to the input of musicians, Board members, independent consultant Michael Kaiser, volunteers, and staff in crafting the next phase of our strategic planning.”

Negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement began in March 2015. The Philadelphia Orchestra musicians were represented by contrabassoonist Holly Blake; cellist Gloria dePasquale; double bassist David Fay, Acting Associate Principal Cello and Chairman of the Musicians’ Members Committee John Koen, and Principal Oboe Richard Woodhams. President and CEO Allison Vulgamore, Executive Vice President for Orchestra Advancement Ryan Fleur, Vice President and CFO Mario Mestichelli, Orchestra Manager Kate Kammeyer, Orchestra Personnel Manager Marilyn Rife, and Director of Human Resources Karen Tomlinson represented The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.


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