Officials with the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Musicians Association have reached an agreement that will provide the furloughed musicians of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra a stipend.
According to a release, the weekly stipend will be $500 and will start being paid Jan. 3. The release notes the agreement between the nonprofit and the union runs through July 31 is made possible, in part, due to “significant support” provided by corporate partners Amazon and Nissan North America. Details of that support were not disclosed.
Earlier this year, the Nashville Symphony board of directors voted to furlough the musicians — including Music Director and Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero —and a majority of administrative staff — starting July 1 due to COVID-19 concerns. Relatedly, the nonprofit suspended all scheduled concert activity through July 31 of next year. (Read more here.)
The agreement between Symphony and Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257, provides the musicians with the weekly stipend in exchange for their commitment to take part in community performances and other activities to be determined in collaboration with the orchestra’s administrative staff.
The Symphony will also continue to provide musicians with health insurance benefits for the duration of the agreement. Due to the short-term nature of the agreement, negotiations between the Symphony and its musicians will continue with the goal of reaching a new deal before the start of the 2021-22 season.
“This agreement represents a vital first step in bringing the Nashville Symphony back from one of the most monumental challenges it has faced,” Pamela Carter, Symphony board chair, said in the release. “We have much work left to do, but we cannot do it without our musicians, who represent the heart, soul and artistry of our organization.”
Losses for the nonprofit, which operates from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in SoBro, have topped $10 million since it ceased operation in mid-March, President and CEO Alan Valentine said in the release.
Nashville Musicians Association President Dave Pomeroy said some of the musicians have not been able to stay in Nashville due to their unemployment.
“It is fortunate that we were finally able to reach an agreement with the NSO to give some assistance to these world-class musicians, and help them get through this unprecedented time,” Pomeroy said.