Oregon Symphony Players Forgo Pay to Close Deficit

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When the Oregon Symphony discovered last October that its budget was in trouble, it cancelled its appearance at the Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall. That saved the orchestra $300,000 in trip expenses. Additionally, three administrative jobs were cut and much of the staff took a four percent pay cut.

But that didn't steady the ship. Now the musicians of the cash-strapped orchestra have agreed to forgo their end-of-season salary payment, saving $315,000, reports the Oregonian. They have also agreed to waive a 2.6 percent salary increase next season, saving an additional $80,000.

"It's frustrating, but we want to be as reasonable as we can afford to be," violinist Greg Ewer told the Oregonian. "We want to do whatever we can to ensure the long-term financial health of this organization."

The orchestra did not say whether music director Carlos Kalmar took a comparable pay cut. Nor did it specify the amount of its overall deficit. This is the time of year when many arts organizations are scrambling to balance their budgets before the end of the fiscal year.

The Oregon Symphony's 2011 appearance at the Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall received praise from many critics.