Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Symphony, musicians ratify contract; Freeman reups

The Richmond Symphony's board and musicians affiliated with Local 123, American Federation of Musicians, have ratified a three-year contract that will raise section players' salaries to $34,400 by the end of the cycle. They were paid slightly more than $30,000 last season.

Erin Freeman, the orchestra's associate conductor and director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, has renewed her contract through the 2010-11 season.

David Fisk, the symphony's executive director, said the new contracts are "important steps in a seamless planning process associated with our move back downtown" to the Carpenter Theatre in the new CenterStage complex, and enable "artistic growth based upon continuing balanced budgets."

"Since we have had almost no pay increase for four years, we are pleased that the terms of this contract look to the future in retaining and attracting first-class musicians, and to increasing the size of the orchestra," said Paul Bedell, the orchestra's principal double-bassist and co-chair of the musicians' negotiating committee.

Freeman, a native of Atlanta, sang as a teenager in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus under the late Robert Shaw. She was named music director of the Richmond Philharmonic in 2004; she joined the Richmond Symphony as assistant conductor in 2006 and succeeded James Erb as the Symphony Chorus' director in 2007.