Houston Symphony Signs 5 Year Agreement with Musicians
The new deal is the longest in the orchestra's history, running until October 2026
During the pandemic, the Houston Symphony presented all of its performance in a digital format, and its Music Director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, was unable to be physically present on account of pandemic restrictions.
Despite these various difficulties associated with its 2020 season, the players and the orchestra's management have managed to draw up a mutually agreeable contract, to cover a significant length of time.
The Houston Symphony has a reasonably positive history of contract negotiation. The players' 2014 contract, which lasted for a period of four years, was ratified nearly six months ahead of schedule. The orchestra's current contract, which was negotiated in 2018, lasted only three years — so the new five-year agreement indicates significant levels of trust from both parties.
The importance of such trust is not to be underestimated, especially in light of recent events in Texas. Players of the San Antonio Symphony have recently gone on strike after talks over their new contract broke down.
Under the Houston Symphony's new contract, players' salaries will be increased incrementally and will return to pre-pandemic levels by October 2022. The players also negotiated some significant improvements to their health care plans, including an increase in the length of parental leave.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, while many orchestras were not performing, we have touched the lives of over a million people by our weekly live-streamed and in-person performances," said Mark Hughes, the orchestra's principal trumpet. "Our shared unwillingness to let the music go silent fortified our relationship with our management making this historic contract a reality.”
"[The deal] will create long-term stability for the Houston Symphony as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic,” commented the orchestra's Executive Director and CEO, John Mangum.