Symphony cuts salaries

RALEIGH, N.C. – With a loss of $2 million for the 2009 fiscal year, and with $4 million in debt, the North Carolina Symphony is cutting musicians’ salaries by 17 percent for the current fiscal year, The News & Observer reported July 14.

The cuts come as the 77-year-old organization attempts to make up for declining fundraising and slumping ticket sales.

“It’s drastic, it’s dramatic and it’s heartbreaking,” says David Chambliss Worters, president and CEO of the organization. However, he says the symphony is not at risk of going under.

Conductor Grant Llewellyn will take a 10 percent pay cut, dropping his salary to $186,278 from $206,975, while Worters will take a 30 percent pay cut, bringing his compensation to $235,513 from $320,250.

The cuts will help trim the symphony’s budget to $11.9 million for the current fiscal year, down from $14.1 for the year ended June 30.

The 17 percent cut for musicians will be achieved by shortening contracts to 37 weeks from 43 weeks, scrapping a planned pay raise of 4 percent for the current fiscal year and imposing a week of unpaid furlough.

The base salary for musicians will be $45,769, down from $55,300.

“Obviously, we are not happy with it,” Paul Goldsberry, violinist and chair of the Orchestra Committee, told the News & Observer. “We recognize the necessity of it.”

The latest changes come after this spring’s cuts, which included cancelled appearances by major artists and conductors, a reduction in pops concerts and a cancelled European tour.

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