A hearty round of applause is in order for the Utah Symphony - including management and musicians alike.
Though the orchestra has been progressing artistically, it's no secret that the Utah Symphony also is struggling financially, as are many arts organizations in this state and across the country.So the unprecedented new contract terms announced Thursday for the symphony come as a welcome response to some discordant economic realities.
In essence, the new terms of the renegotiated contract involve not an outright pay cut but a lower salary increase than the one that had been scheduled.
While this move still leaves the symphony with some tough financial challenges, it is a reflection of early years when musicians sometimes went without paychecks to keep the Utah Symphony going. And it shows a continuing determination to preserve this valuable asset.
The mutual concessions and the harmony behind the new contract provisions come as an encouraging contrast to the previous rancor that prevailed when two of the Utah Symphony's last three contract agreements were reached only after strikes.
It's no accident that this new harmony was achieved after musicians were put on the symphony's board of directors, giving them a clear view of the seriousness of the financial problems facing the orchestra and how hard it can be to raise money.
Elsewhere around the country, some communities no longer have symphony orchestras because of such financial problems. Utah cannot afford to let the same thing happen here. The Utah Symphony is a major reason for this state's national and even international reputation for artistic and cultural excellence. By helping to make this state a good place to live, the symphony also contributes to Utah's economy by helping to attract new business and industry here.
In response to the belt-tightening being done by musicians and management, the people of Utah should show their appreciation for all that the Utah Symphony does for this state. The most concrete and effective way to show that appreciation, of course, would be with more financial support.