Columbus Symphony Musicians Approve 3-Year Contract

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Columbus Symphony musicians on Monday approved a 3-year contract with the CSO board. Principal Tuba player Jim Akins says under the new contract, the orchestra will maintain all 53 musicians, but the season will be shortened and salaries reduced.

Representatives of the orchestra’s musicians describe the contract as “a lifeboat.” The orchestra’s Jim Akins says musicians were out of options.

The contract’s approval means salaries will drop from an average of $55,000 to about $34,000, for the current, abbreviated 31 week season. For clarinetist David Thomas, the cut in pay is the breaking point.

“My plans are to look elsewhere as soon as possible and to continue to try for orchestras and if not possibly switch careers,” Thomas says. “Because I’m just too creative and too talented a person to deserve this kind of salary for the kind of work that I’ve done all my life.”

Next year’s season will be 38 weeks in length with musicians’ salaries between $42,000 and $44,000.