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UPDATED: Musicians Ratify Contract With NMSO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Player’s Association says musicians will take a 23 percent pay cut

The musicians and management of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra have reached agreement on a new labor contract.

That’s the word from the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Player’s Association.

The association said in a news release Sunday that the musicians have ratified a contract that will mean a 23 percent pay cut. The news release said that management had threatened that bankruptcy would be considered on Tuesday if the contract was not accepted.

The musicians have been out of work for more than 14 weeks, according to the news release.

Several concerts were canceled during contract negotiations between the musicians and management.

The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra said in a news release Monday announcing the contract agreement that it will begin its 2009-2010 season with “A Very Merry Pops” on Dec. 12 and “Messiah” on Dec. 18-20. The news release advises going to the NMSO Web site at for concert times.

KRQE-TV reported that NMSO CEO Eric Meyer told News 13 that the sluggish economy has cut contributions.

The NMSO board is projecting a $900,000 budget shortfall for the symphony, KRQE-TV said.

Monday’s release from NMSO said planning has already begun for a major campaign to raise money for sustaining NMSO in the future.





Thursday, 26 November 2009 09:35


There is some encouraging news today regarding the protracted labor negotiations between the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and its musicians.

 Carla Lehmeier-Tatum, a spokeswoman for the musicians, reported in an e-mail to the Journal that the musicians at a Tuesday night meeting were encouraged by the progress made by the most recent negotiations last weekend and “agree that we are close to reaching an agreement. …With an agreement so close, the musicians voted to perform the Very Merry Pops concerts (next month) at the proposed reduced (salary) rate, so that the final points of negotiations can be resolved.”

The musicians’ old labor agreement with the orchestra management expired Aug. 31. They have not played under the NMSO banner since last spring. The announced 2009-10 season is approaching the halfway mark, with some previously scheduled concerts postponed or canceled.





Friday, 13 November 2009 13:46


The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Friday announced cancellations of three Classics concerts Nov. 20-22 after musicians voted down the latest contract proposal.

“These programs will not be rescheduled due to a lack of available dates in the performance calendar ending May 31, 2010,” The NMSO said in a news release.

The musicians’ “no” vote was announced earlier Friday.

It is the first time NMSO has cancelled a previously scheduled concert in the current season. Management said that earlier planned concerts in the season would be rescheduled. The musicians have not played a single note with the NMSO this season.

The NMSO management and the musicians have been negotiating since mid-July on a new labor contract but without coming to an agreement.

The musicians have offered to “play and talk” since the old contract expired Aug. 31, but management has said that it cannot afford to pay the players at the salary level under the old contract.

Like other orchestras around the country, the NMSO’s income has dropped dramatically in terms of the value of its investments, and in the amount of donations from individuals and businesses.

Meanwhile, the NMSO said that it would not partner with the New Mexico Ballet Company for its upcoming performances of “The Nutcracker” ballet as it has done for many years.

However, the ballet company said it would contract with individual musicians to play those performances that begin the last weekend of November and run through the first weekend of December.


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