Seattle Symphony and Seattle Symphony & Opera Players’ Organization Announce One-Year Contract Extension


Seattle Symphony President and CEO Krishna Thiagarajan and Seattle Symphony & Opera Players’ Organization President and Seattle Symphony Associate Principal Flute Jeffrey Barker announced a one-year contract extension. The agreement includes several new provisions such as salary increases for musicians, expanded parental leave benefits, updates to hearing procedures that support a fairer process, and expanded streaming capability on Seattle Symphony Live, Symphony’s streaming service.

“This agreement is a great outcome for the orchestra as it allows us to continue to serve our communities with great music and inspiring performers while rebuilding from the disruption of the pandemic,” said Krishna Thiagarajan, President and CEO. conducting the Seattle Symphony. “Our ability to keep our musicians on staff during the pandemic was the main reason we were able to start shows in September 2020 to serve a community that needed music and culture during this difficult time. With this agreement, we wanted to recognize the musical sacrifices created during this time and address the need for modern benefits and decent salaries for creatives in Seattle.With the continued support of the community, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra is poised for great musicality, greater fairness and financial stability in the incredible seasons to come!”

“The agreement we have reached represents a major step forward for the Seattle Symphony. We are especially proud of our new parental leave benefit, as well as updates to our audition procedures, which are just one small part of the ongoing work we need to do to ensure that the Seattle Symphony Orchestra reflects all of the communities we serve,” said Jeffrey Barker, president of the Symphony Orchestra players organization and the Seattle Opera and Associate Principal Flute of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.” At the same time, the expanded ability to stream our concerts online shows the shared commitment between musicians and administration to continue to innovate and develop. ‘reach our audience in new ways.’

The previous contract extension expires August 31, 2022 and the new one-year extension will be in effect from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. Seattle Symphony musicians are employed for 47 weeks each year by the Seattle Symphony and Seattle. Opera, and under the terms of the new contract, they will receive a 4% salary increase for a weekly base salary of $2,428.40.

Among the new terms of the extended contract is an updated parental leave allowance that provides up to 12 weeks of full pay to parents of a newborn, newly adopted child or foster child. ‘welcome. The agreement also includes adjustments to the sick leave policy for pregnancy-related disabilities, providing mutually beneficial use of Washington State paid family and medical leave and sick leave benefits.

As part of the Seattle Symphony’s investment in greater onstage representation of ALAANA (African, Latina, Asian, Arab or Native American) and LGBTQ+ musicians and our partnership with the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), the Seattle Symphony has adopted new audition and recruitment procedures to support greater representation of musicians historically excluded from the industry.

The contract also includes new provisions for Seattle Symphony Live’s streaming capability with an extended on-demand viewing period for original content. Additionally, the Electronic Media Guarantee, which provides musicians with additional guaranteed compensation for media work performed during the concert season, will be increased by 2.6% of the base salary over the current contractual amount, resulting in a new total of 3% of base salary.

The Seattle Symphony would like to thank the Musicians’ Negotiating Committee for their cooperation and partnership throughout the contract extension process. The committee includes members of the orchestra: president Jeffrey Barker (associate principal flute), Natasha Bazhanov (violin), John DiCesare (principal tuba), Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby (flute/piccolo), Timothy Hale (viola) and Alexander White (associated solo trumpet). Symphony vice president and general manager, Jennifer Adair, led bargaining efforts on behalf of the employer with vice president and chief financial officer, Cheronne Wong.


The Seattle Symphony & Opera Players’ Organization (SSOPO) is the labor organization representing musicians who perform for the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera. The bargaining unit is made up exclusively of members of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, including the music librarian. The autonomous organization is a chapter of the International Guild of Symphonic, Theatre, Opera and Ballet Musicians (IGSTOBM). The IGSTOBM was formed in Seattle as an independent union in 1985. The Guild won its first National Labor Relations Board-supervised election in 1988, becoming the union representing musician employees at the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera and of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.


Seattle Symphony Live brings the dynamic performances of the Seattle Symphony to audiences around the world. Launched in 2020 to provide musical convenience despite the pandemic, the digital streaming service has reached a global audience of over 750,000 viewers with its live concerts, behind-the-scenes interviews, educational videos and more. With subscriptions starting at $12.99 per month, Seattle Symphony Live makes engagement with the orchestra’s exceptional musical content more possible than ever.


The Seattle Symphony unleashes the power of music, brings people together and uplifts the human spirit. Recognized as one of “America’s Most Vital Orchestras” (NPR), the Seattle Symphony is internationally recognized for its inventive programming, community initiatives and superb recordings on the Seattle Symphony Media label. With a strong commitment to new music and a legacy of over 150 recordings, the orchestra has won five Grammy Awards, 27 Grammy Award nominations, two Emmy Awards and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. The Symphony performs at Benaroya Hall in the heart of downtown Seattle from September to July, reaching more than 750,000 people a year through live performances and radio broadcasts, and through the Seattle Symphony streaming service Live, the orchestra’s concerts reach audiences at home and around the world.


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