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Tuesday Morning Roundup
by Anne Bothwell 6 Sep 2011

It’s a new day: New contract for DSO musicians; new life for your concert T-shirts; rave reviews – and a new career? – for Erykah Badu.


Belle of the Ball: Erykah Badu’s performance at Rock the Bells in New York is getting great reviews. The show brought starts of hip-hop and neo-soul from the 80s and 90s together to perform their iconic albums in entirety. Badu ripped through Baduizm and “aced the assignment with extra credit,” says the New York Times.

“She never made the trip through an old achievement feel like a slog. Her set was a prolonged and relaxed tease, full of rehearsed goodbyes and jams that drifted into beautifully controlled funk experiments.”

The show hits Boston this weekend. What will Badu do when the tour is over? Maybe this.

And here’s  a little clip from Rock the Bells LA show, last month.

Metal Patchwork: Those old concert T-shirts taking up too much drawer space or fitting a little too snug? Here’s an idea.

Wage freeze: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and its musicians’ union have agreed to a new two-year contract. The musicians agreed to a pay freeze for the first year of the contract and a pay increase of less than 1% the second year.  Both sides acknowledged economic realities that make belt-tightening necessary.  (The DSO recently cut $1 million from its 2011-12 budget, including eliminating some positions and a staff wage freeze.) Orchestra members base salary is about $90,000, ranking it 11th among American orchestras. Full press release below, after the jump.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Ratifies New Musician Contract

Two-Year Agreement Balances Artistic Excellence with Financial Realities

Dallas, TX (Sept. 5, 2011) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and its musicians announced today a new two-year contract between the DSO and members of Local 72-147 of the American Federation of Musicians.  The new contract takes effect October 1, 2011 and runs through August 31, 2013.

This contract is the result of more than four months of negotiations focused on maintaining artistic excellence, while balancing financial prudence in the face of difficult economic realities.  In tandem, the DSO recently cut over $1 million from its 2011-12 budget, including the elimination of staff positions and a staff wage freeze.

“The DSO musicians’ committee and management team really came together for the greater good of our organization and community, and I am grateful for this shared commitment and hard work,” said Blaine Nelson, board chair-elect of the Dallas Symphony.   “This is a responsible settlement that will maintain our artistic integrity as we continue to evaluate new strategic and financial options.”

“While DSO musicians have taken a wage freeze for the past four years, we understood the economic realities and worked with management to find a solution that would not compromise the artistic excellence of our fine orchestra,” said John Kitzman, DSO principal trombonist and chairman of the musicians’ Orchestra Committee.  “This agreement demonstrates the orchestra’s commitment to bring the very best music to the city of Dallas for generations to come.”

According to the agreement, musician wages will remain level during the first year and will increase by less than 1% the following year.  With a base musician salary of approximately $90,000, the Dallas Symphony ranks 11th in base salary among leading American orchestras, while performing in the nation’s ninth largest city and fourth largest Metroplex.

“Like so many cultural organizations around the country, the Dallas Symphony struggles to balance our artistic aspirations with the economic challenges,” said David Hyslop, DSO interim president and CEO since May 2011.  “Given my years of experience in orchestra negotiations, I knew that both sides needed to give some in order to make this work.  The agreement speaks volumes about the Dallas Symphony’s commitment to each other as an institution and to the Dallas community.  Both sides are to be commended for how they worked together in this difficult process.”