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Chicago Symphony Settlement Allows Carnegie Hall Gala

Deborah Rutter
Deborah Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. The orchestra's musicians struck over the weekend. Photographer: Todd Rosenberg/Chicago Symphony Orchestra via Bloomberg

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The season-opening gala is safe at New York’s Carnegie Hall, as musicians and management of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra reached a tentative deal Monday night to end a two-day strike.

The 101 orchestra musicians, all members of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208, this morning approved the contract, said Rachelle Roe, a Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association spokesman.

“As soon as we coordinate the board vote, we expect we will have ratification,” Roe said.

Details of the accord weren’t released in a joint statement by the CSO and the union.

One of the nation’s most highly regarded orchestras, the CSO is to play for Carnegie Hall’s opening night celebration on Oct. 3 as well as the following two nights.

Stephen Lester, a double-bass player and chairman of the negotiating committee, said on Sunday the strike was called because musicians objected to the increase in their health care contributions. In a release on Sunday, the union said management proposed total compensation that would have been 5 percent below the top-paid U.S. orchestras.

Under the contract that expired earlier this month, musicians earned an average of $173,000, according to the association. Musicians are scheduled to play 160 concerts this season and receive 12 weeks of paid time off.

“The CSO’s three concerts remain on Carnegie Hall’s schedule, as previously announced,” Synneve Carlino, a Carnegie Hall spokesman, said in an e-mail.

For the gala opening night, music director Riccardo Muti conducts the CSO in Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

To contact the reporter of this story: Philip Boroff in New York at

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at

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