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Hawaii Symphony Orchestra extends contract with musicians

By Steven Mark

LAST UPDATED: 2:56 p.m. HST, Jul 15, 2014

On the eve of announcing its third season, the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra extended the current agreement with its musicians, allowing for "incremental" growth of the organization.

The two-year contract extension promises the musicians a minimum of 14 weeks of employment a year, up two weeks from the previous contract, said Jonathan Parrish, symphony executive director. Salaries remain the same for the first year -- $1,050 per week -- and rise slightly in the second year.

"We're kind of at the point where in extending our programming, we're going to need more work weeks in order to do it all," he said. "It's obviously incremental, but it's necessary to accomplish our goals and our mission."

The agreement comes on the heels of an artistically rewarding sophomore season.

Although the books haven't been fully closed yet, the orchestra is expected to finish in the black, Parrish said. That will be a step up from its first season, which required symphony board members to contribute $400,000 to balance the budget.

"Neither that season nor this season were executed under normal, much less ideal circumstances," Parrish said. "The process now is to normalize, to get more normal.

"We're still behind the normal schedule for announcing and marketing a season. We're maybe a month ahead of where we were last year. Next year we hope to get maybe two or three months ahead of this."

The symphony also will be turning to a new ticketing system that will enable patrons to buy directly from the symphony. Previously, subscriptions were sold through the Hawaii Opera Theatre box office, with single tickets sold via Ticketmaster and the Blaisdell box office. Now tickets will be sold through the symphony's website and at its office in Kaimuki.

The symphony is getting ready for the 2014-15 season, which opens Sept. 13-14 with concerts commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of Blaisdell Concert Hall.

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