October 2, 2009
New Hampshire Music Festival Advances Plans for the 2010 Season Despite Musicians’ Vote
The New Hampshire Music Festival has been busy planning its Summer Season for 2010. Working with our newly announced Artistic Director, Jonathan Gandelsman, we have been working on a Beethoven theme for the Classics Series while Michael Krajewski is planning the Pops Series. The program for this summer is being developed to create excitement for our musicians and our patrons and help us address our goal of expanding our audience base.
Toward that end, the Festival has been in discussions with its musicians during last summer and in the months since the Season ended to ensure that 2010 is a financial and artistic success. Last August, the Festival Board of Directors and the Orchestra Committee of musicians announced a Personnel Policy developed collaboratively that set out a process for re-inviting all incumbent musicians for the 2010 Summer Season. Both the Board and the musician representatives endorsed the approach as fair to our incumbent musicians while also enabling the Festival to move toward its vision of even greater artistic excellence.
This week, the musician representative advised the Festival that, in a vote, the musicians overwhelmingly rejected the Personnel Policy. “The results of the poll disappointed us,” said Festival Chairman Rusty McLear, “especially since both sides have worked so hard on a personnel policy based on shared interests and common ground.”
The Policy outlines a process for how the Festival will hire musicians in 2010. The suggestion for the manner of initial selection of musicians and evaluation during next season originated with the musicians. Together we developed the language that became the Festival Personnel Policy. It ensures fairness in the process in a fiscally responsible manner. The Festival was informed that the musicians rejected the Policy because the Festival conditioned re-employment of incumbent musicians and new musicians on its financial ability to sustain the positions that were to be created.
The Festival has been planning the 2010 Season with a much larger orchestra than that employed in 2009 at wages 25 percent higher. McLear said, “We are baffled that the musicians would reject a Personnel Policy simply because it is grounded in sound fiscal principles. The Festival would be remiss if it guaranteed an expansion of the orchestra and increased compensation without the financial means.”
The Festival has announced that it intends to proceed to implement the personnel process that was developed jointly with the musicians’ representatives.
McLear explained that our musicians have always been hired independently on annual renewable contracts. McLear said, “In spite of the vote, we hope that the musicians will decide to return for the 2010 Season. We welcome them to join with us to create an even better, stronger Festival that will be a musical destination for audiences and professionals alike.”
Debbie Karis Graham
New Hampshire Music Festival
52 Symphony Lane
Center Harbor, NH 03226