Personnel Policy Amendments 2015

Signed Personnel Policy Amendments 2015

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New Hampshire Music Festival

Amendments to Personnel Policy of 2013

Item 1:  Filling vacancies in the Permanent Roster

The NHMF Musicians and Music Director will be notified when a vacancy occurs and will be invited to recruit applicants.   Applications will be screened by an Auditions Committee elected by the Permanent Roster, with input from Principals and/or section musicians.   Selected applicants will be referred to the Music Director and may be invited to audition.   Following the audition process, the audition committee will make recommendations to the Music Director.  

Item 2: Grievances

The Orchestra will respect the right of the Music Director to make changes, but will have significant input in the decision process.

If the Music Director has artistic concerns about a Musician, (s)he should follow the recommended procedures which include:

a formal meeting with the player to outline the concerns, giving them a reasonable chance to address them 

a written warning to the Musician with copies to the Orchestra Committee, allowing one season to address the concerns

a written dismissal to the Musician with the reasons for the dismissal stated, and copies sent to the Orchestra Committee.  

The Musician may appeal the dismissal to a Grievance Committee elected by the Permanent Roster.  The Grievance Committee will gather evidence, communicate with all parties, and either vote to overturn the Music Director’s decision (the musician stays) or vote to take no action (allow the Music Director’s dismissal to stand).

Item 3: Permanent Roster  

Offers will be made to permanent roster, in order of seniority, by the end of February whenever possible. Musicians will accept at least half of the work offered in order to remain on the permanent roster (after initial grace period of two consecutive seasons to comply beginning with the 2016 season) 

Item 4: Substitute Musicians

First offers for substitute positions will go to members of the Permanent Roster who were not able to accept the minimum offer.  Subsequent offers will be made to players from an ordered sub list, which will be set each year with input from the Section Leader, the Music Director, and the Personnel Manager. Once the sub list has been exhausted, the Personnel Manager will consult the Music Director and the Section Leader for the next recommendation.  

Contract should distinguish substitute musicians from auditionees. 


Procedures for hiring musicians

August 10, 2015

Item 1:  Filling vacancies in the Permanent Roster

AUDITION COMMITTEE–five members, elected by the Orchestra.

–The Audition Committee will screen applicants and evaluate auditionees in consultation with the Music Director.

–For section positions, the section principal also gets a vote.

–For principal positions, the section will be consulted.



–Musicians who wish to resign their position will notify the Personnel Manager in writing.

–Notice of resignation made by February 15 will open a permanent position. 

–Notice of resignation after February 15 will open a sub position.

–For permanent positions, the Orchestra and Music Director will be notified that a vacancy has occurred and will be invited to recruit applicants.

–The deadline for applications should be one month after that notice is given.  

–Applications should be sent to the Personnel Manager and will include resume and digital recording of solo and/or ensemble playing and excerpts.

–The Personnel Manager will forward all application materials to the Audition Committee.

–The Audition Committee, in consultation with the Music Director, may waive the recording requirement on a case-by-case basis.

–The Committee will review applications and forward approved candidates to the Music Director.

–The decision to invite more than one candidate for a position can be made by discussion between the Music Director and Audition Committee.

–If more than one candidate qualifies for a position, all may be invited for two or more weeks. 


–Auditionees should be in residence at least two weeks, 

–Non-principal candidates should be seated next to permanent member, and rotated.

–When practical, principal position candidates should perform in a chamber music context during the summer and/or play a solo with the orchestra.

–The successful candidate must accept all work offered for two years to get onto the Permanent Roster.


–The Audition Committee will solicit personal feedback from members of the orchestra, especially those with close musical ties to the positions in question.  Orchestra members are encouraged to approach the Audition Committee to provide feedback.

–The Audition Committee will confer with the Music Director to provide recommendations on retention.

Item 2: Grievances


1). If the Music Director has musical concerns about a player, (s)he requests a meeting with the musician and a representative of the orchestra committee during the regular season to discuss the concerns, and give a time frame for the musician to address them.

2) The Music Director gives a written Warning to the musician, stating the reasons for the warning so the musician can address them, delivered by November 1 for following season, with Copies to Orchestra Committee.  The musician has one season to address the concerns.

3) Following that season, if the Music Director feels the concerns were not adequately addressed, (s)he gives a written Dismissal to the musician, between the end of the season and November 1, stating the  reasons for dismissal, with copies to Orchestra Committee.

4) Musician must appeal within 30 days of receipt of letter of dismissal.

5) The Grievance Committee must hold a hearing within 30 days of the appeal.


–A Grievance Committee of seven people elected by the Orchestra makes the final decision in the case of an appeal.

–Nominations are made by the Orchestra for committee membership

–At least 15 people will be elected to full committee membership or alternate status.  The first seven will serve on the Committee, the others will be alternates.

— If a player does not wish to serve, they may request to be excused.

— The committee accomplishes three tasks:

1) review the evidence, gather input

2) meet with the Music Director and musician, and make a decision.  In this meeting, the Music Director first explains his/her reasons for the dismissal.  Then the musician then presents their defense.

3) The committee votes to overturn Music Director’s decision (musician stays), or take no action (allow Music Director’s decision to stand, i.e., musician is dismissed).

Item 3: Permanent Roster

In order to bring back improved continuity after a period of austerity, the procedures below should be followed to the extent possible.  It should be understood that the commitment needs to be on both sides, and that we should also consider connection to the audience/community.  Given the uncertainty of the past few years and the fact that musicians are not assured of a position from year to year, it is too soon to ask for a suddenly strong level of commitment from musicians. 


–In order of seniority, permanent roster players are offered the entire season for the instrument (repertoire dependent).

–Musician must accept at least half of what is offered.

–Musicians are not guaranteed housing during weeks they decline to perform.

–Permanent players may have a grace period of two seasons in which they do not accept the minimum.  Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis by the Music Director and the Orchestra Committee. 

–If a permanent player cannot fulfill the minimum requirements after a second season, they will be placed on the sub list.

–Concertmaster should be required to be in residence for 6 weeks, except in extenuating circumstances.

–Principals should be required to accept the majority (more than half) of work offered.

–Current co-principal positions (clarinet) are grandfathered.

–Permanent players may take a leave of absence every seven years.

Item 4: Substitute Musicians

The purpose here is to clarify hiring practices for sub players, including their status, where they sit, who chooses them, and how. The sub list is not “protected” in the way the permanent roster is  –  it will be set by year, not year-to-year, and should have flexibility to allow section input.    


–The Music Director will consult with the section Principals to set the annual section sub list.

–Priority will be given to a player who can accept all work that is offered.

Vacancies left after all permanent players have been contracted are filled by: 

Permanent players that could not accept the minimum requirement

Players from an approved sub list for the season

Remaining slots filled by Music Director in consultation with Section Principal and Personnel Manager.

In the event of an unforeseen need (within 2 weeks) and the sub list has been exhausted, the Personnel Manager alone is responsible for filling the position.

–Subs engaged to fill vacant seats will be informed that they are subbing and not in line for placement on the permanent roster.

–Subs don’t sit ahead of permanent roster unless they are auditioning.

–Subs are not part of the seating rotation, but should be seated with permanent players as much as possible, so that there is a better basis for evaluation.

This document can be reviewed and amended as needed in the future.