Colorado Springs Philharmonic Returns in Time for the Holidays

After a lengthy intermission amid the pandemic, the curtains open once again for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Josep Caballé Domenech, Music Director of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.
Josep Caballé Domenech, Music Director of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? Since 1927, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s classical symphonies and orchestral masterpieces have enchanted audiences. Then the pandemic forced performances and, ultimately, musicians’ contracts to be canceled

Now, after months of negotiations, the Philharmonic and the Pikes Peak Musicians Association have come to a three-year agreement to bring musicians back to the stage and audiences back to their seats. And it’s just in time for the holidays. First up on the schedule will be the perennial favorite Thanksgiving performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

“For 95 years, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has grown, overcome obstacles, and continued to deliver captivating performances,” says Colorado Springs Philharmonic President and CEO Nathan Newbrough in a press release. “This new agreement is so much more than the numbers or compromises made. What resounds is the return of our world-class musicians and the world’s finest audiences.”

Arriving at the new contract was not without complications. Back in April 2020, a new five-year agreement promised musicians roughly a 30% pay raise. But the pandemic continued to force cancellations and deplete the Philharmonic’s revenue, leading to the cancellation of the contract in September 2020.

The future of the Philharmonic hung in the balance for 18 months until both musicians and management made concessions and agreed on a compromise solution. Under the new contract, the musicians begin working with restricted pay and the promise of wage increases each year going forward.

“We musicians care so deeply about the future of our orchestra that we accepted salary reductions to get us back to work,” says Sarah Wilson, cellist and president of the Local #154 American Federation of Musicians union.  “We hope that bold artistic vision will be the primary motivation for the Philharmonic’s future decisions and artists will be valued accordingly. In this way, we can continue to attract and retain the talented professionals who make the music.”

close up shot of a colorado springs philharmonic performance
Photo courtesy of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Concerts and rehearsals during the 2021-22 season will not be as frequent as they used to be. Instead, the Philharmonic and Pikes Peak Musicians Association agreed on a gradual reintroduction in order to prioritize the health and safety of the community and musicians.

The Philharmonic’s comeback season will officially launch in January 2022 will a full slate of Masterworks, Pops and Signature Series.

“The Philharmonic is the cultural jewel of this area and what is an orchestra without its musicians?” says Jeremy Van Hoy, bass trombonist and chairman of the Orchestra Players Committee. “We look forward to presenting thrilling new programs with our music director Josep Caballé-Domenech and associate music director Thomas Wilson to all of our loyal patrons and fellow music lovers. Please visit coloradospringsphilmusicians.com to view our self-produced performances.”

Holiday tickets are on sale now. Get full details, tickets and upcoming Philharmonic concert schedules at csphilharmonic.org.


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