Music Director Eric Jacobsen Extends Contract with Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

Musicians agree to updated Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (OPO) is thrilled to announce that Music Director Eric Jacobsen has renewed his contract with the OPO to extend through the 2023–2024 Season with an option to extend through the 2024–2025 Season. Maestro Jacobsen will conduct a variety of programs each Season, extending the community further opportunities to enjoy his internationally recognized artistry and talent.

“I am so excited about our continuing partnership with Eric,” said Paul Helfrich, executive director of the Orlando Philharmonic. “Eric is an amazing musician who brings out the best in every performance he conducts. We’re fortunate to have his leadership, and look forward to great music-making in the years ahead.”

Highlights of Eric’s conducting during the 2021–2022 Season include time with The Knights at the Tanglewood Festival, Caramoor Festival, and the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts at the Central Park Bandshell in New York City. Jacobsen will also lead the Detroit Symphony and Virginia Symphony this October, December, and in April 2022.

The OPO also announces a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Central Florida Musicians Association, Local 389 of the American Federation of Musicians, representing the musicians of the OPO. The agreement will span for two years and will cover the current 2021–2022 Season as well as the succeeding 2022–2023 Season.

Highlights of the agreement include a 2% increase in the per-service rate, coupled with the orchestra’s first-ever pension contributions to the American Federation of Musicians Employer’s Pension Fund (AFM-EPF). These pension contributions will begin as 1% of gross wages in the first year, rising to 4.796% of gross wages in the second year. Instrument insurance will also be provided for core members of the orchestra.

The CBA includes a formal service guarantee for the first time in the orchestra’s history, giving musicians a guaranteed number of services in each Season. In addition, four official ensembles will be established within the OPO: two string quartets, a brass quintet, as well as a woodwind quintet. In partnership with the University of Central Florida, a Minority Fellowship Program will be established in which there will be a provision for up to four participants. Further, for the first time, musicians will be entitled to up to four paid emergency sick leave services per Season.

The orchestra’s core membership will expand under the new agreement, as it provides for the addition of eight new positions, including Assistant Principal positions in the Viola, Cello, and Bass sections, all to be selected by nationally advertised auditions. Audition procedures have been updated to further assure a completely unbiased, “blind” evaluation of candidates.

COVID safety will be addressed through a vaccine mandate with exceptions for documented medical or religious belief reasons only. Any musician to whom an exception is granted must present a weekly negative COVID test and wear a mask as allowed by the instrument on which they perform.

“This new agreement puts us on a trajectory for growth, both artistically and programmatically,” said Helfrich. “I’m very pleased with the spirit of partnership that characterized our negotiations and am honored to work with our outstanding musicians to bring great music to Central Florida.”