The new contract for symphony musicians is the latest sign of fiscal health for the Delaware Symphony Orchestra which was on the brink just a few years ago.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by the Delaware Symphony Association and musicians with Local 21 of the American Federation of Musicians will be good through August 2019. The new deal guarantees annual rate increases for musicians of 5 percent.
“We feel confident in agreeing to these increases as our new strategic plan envisions significant geographic and programmatic expansion,” said symphony executive director Alan Jordan. “The new CBA will fall in line with DSA’s overall plans for increased service throughout Delaware.”
That increased service is part of the orchestra’s new strategic plan adopted in February to expand its offerings. That new plan comes just a few years after the orchestra had announced that it was planning to cease operations. In 2012, the DSO announced it was cancelling the remainder of the ’12-’13 concert season because it didn’t have the financial resources to continue.
Since Jordan joined the orchestra as executive director last year, the DSO has launched a new strategic plan which will, in part, make the orchestra more community oriented. That plan includes a return to family concerts and outdoor DSO performances. The plan will also expand education outreach and create a new chamber ensembles program. The orchestra is also working to establish a partnership with the Ferris School for Boys.
The new CBA was praised by orchestra members like principal tuba player and musician representative Brian Brown. “The level of care and commitment the DSO management demonstrated for the long-term health and growth of the DSO and its musicians was unprecedented in my 20 years with the orchestra,” Brown said. “I feel there is now a real partnership with the musicians and the stewards of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.”
The orchestra’s season opens September 23 with a Classics Series concert in Copeland Hall at the Grand Opera House in downtown Wilmington.