It's pretty much official the Utah Symphony will be playing 41/2 weeks of its recently canceled summer season.
Monday the symphony board voted to reinstate the orchestra's August schedule, including five concerts at Abravanel Hall, three each at Deer Valley and Snowbird and two at the Gallivan Utah Center. At the same time the board approved extending the musicians' current contract another two years, through August 1999, with salaries frozen at 1996-97 levels.Both measures had been endorsed earlier that day by a majority of the 83-member orchestra.
"My sense is that the musicians, though not thrilled, are pleased we're going to be playing at least part of the summer," said musicians' spokesperson Christine Osborne. She said formal ratification of the new contract is expected by the end of the week.
Symphony president Donald L. Andrews said that anywhere from $5,000 to $65,000 is still needed to finance the August "miniseason," but that $57,000 has been pledged by various organizations to support the recording of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony that month under conductor Robert Shaw. Of that, $25,000 is a one-for-one matching grant from the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation.
Board chairman Harris H. Simmons praised the musicians' willingness to help the symphony find long-term solutions to its ongoing financial problems. But he warned that, unless solutions are found, "future summers are very much in jeopardy."
The new agreement reduces the orchestra's 1995-96 season by 61/2 weeks, instead of the proposed 15, and puts its budget for the year at $7.1 million, as opposed to $7.9 million for a full 52 weeks.
Minimum base pay is currently $703 per week, escalating to $741 per week in 1996-97.