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Will the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra make music in 2013?

The New Year was bittersweet for many Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra members who were both thankful that the lockout was over but disappointed by the 32 percent reduction in their salaries for the 2013 concert calendar.

Readers of our blog may remember how strained negotiations had become in September when union representatives appeared to have reached a standstill with the cash-strapped orchestra. In fact, many critics felt that if concessions weren't made, there wasn't going to be much of a concert schedule to speak of when the New Year hit.

The lockout officially ended in October when musicians made a tentative agreement to a shorter schedule in order to save money. In addition to the shorter concert schedule, more than 70 orchestra members agreed to new contract agreements that would reduce their starting salaries from $78,000 to $53,000 for the first year of the 5-year contract. The symphony has promised, however, to restore pay to $70,000 by the end of the collective bargaining agreement.

Still, some critics point out that the new agreement could turn out to be a wash if the ISO does not reach the ambitious fundraising amount of $5 million in donations by February 3. ISO executives are hopeful though and say that, as of December 3, they had already pulled in approximately $2.2 million so far.

With a shorter playing season, some residents in Indiana are wondering if the orchestra will be able to 'stay in the black' for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, pointing out that the symphony had a $900,000 deficit last year, even after tapping into the ISO's endowment for $11.4 million.

Source: IBJ.com, "ISO reaches new contract, launches fundraising spree," IBJ Staff, Dec. 28, 2012

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