In August the musicians of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra wrapped up negotiations resulting in a three-year contract through the end of the 2013–2014 season. The current season was reduced from 41 weeks to 40 weeks while maintaining a freeze in overall salary. In the following two seasons the musicians will receive raises of 4% and 3.75%, respectively. Health benefits were not a part of the negotiations and remain the responsibility of the Alabama Symphonic Association. These negotiations also resulted in meaningful increases for per-service musicians over the length of the contract.
The negotiating committee was focused on reaching an agreement that signified a greater commitment to the orchestra on the part of management, both with regard to orchestra salary and length of contract. In the time following the close of these negotiations, the organization has seen a great deal of turnover in management positions. Key positions in the development department have recently been filled after remaining vacant for several months.
In spite of the instability that this trend could cause, Alabama Symphony Executive Director Curt Long has recently stated publicly that the orchestra is on track to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget. The organization has also recently reached its financial goal in raising funds for the orchestra’s upcoming Spring for Music appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall this May. Over 500 local symphony supporters have decided to join the orchestra and will make the trip to New York to hear the concert. This season also marks the first year of a search for a new music director for the organization. Maestro Justin Brown will finish his tenure as music director this season and will assume the post of music director laureate for the following two seasons.