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Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra reaches one-year deal with musicians

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Posted at 9:26 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 21:26:28-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and its musicians have reached a deal to keep the music playing in the Circle City.

In a statement released Tuesday, the orchestra and its musicians announced a one-year deal that provides both health benefits at no cost to the musicians and a financial stipend as part of a pathway to return.

"Together, we are committed to bringing symphonic music back to downtown," James Johnson, CEO of the ISO, said. "We are deeply appreciative of the understanding and commitment of our talented musicians and pledge to work collaboratively to engage our patrons and greater community in new and meaningful ways."

In July, the symphony canceled the 2020-21 season, which lasts through June, because of the uncertainty associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first time since the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra first took the stage in 1930 that an entire season has been canceled. There have been work stoppages over the years, however, an entire season has never been canceled before.

"As we work to re-emerge from this challenging period, the musicians wish to express our sincere appreciation to the ISO's loyal patrons and donors for their past and ongoing support of our orchestra," Brian Smith, Orchestra Committee Chair, said. "We look forward to once again bringing great music to our beloved city as soon as possible."

The agreement runs through Aug. 29, 2021, includes health coverage for the musicians paid for by the ISO. It also includes a weekly payment of $500 to musicians beginning in January and a commitment by the musicians to provide six weeks of performances and community engagement activities to connect the ISO with audiences.

Musicians and symphony staff will also work together to come up with "innovative, reimagined programming" to bring music to central Indiana during the upcoming year. Additional details will be forthcoming, the symphony said.

"While working toward a long-term contract, we look forward to our continuing collaboration with the musicians to build community engagement and educational activities that will connect with current and future patrons to support our efforts during these difficult times," Johnson said. "As the anchor of the arts community, the ISO will move forward with renewed optimism and, in concert with our musicians, confront the challenges our organization and our community face."