Press Statement: 6/22/20


Brian Smith, Orchestra Committee Chair
Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
‪(317) 451-9326

Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Lose Health Insurance, Are Furloughed by Management


For the second time since March 20th, the Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra have been furloughed by the orchestra’s management. The most recent furlough, effective June 7th, also initiated the termination of the Musicians’ employer-provided health insurance. The ISO is the only ICSOM* orchestra in the US to terminate health insurance while furloughing its musicians.

After several weeks of negotiations to receive back pay owed to the Musicians, our management, as a condition of payment of wages already owed, demanded vastly expanded media rights to Musician-created content. Management further insisted on the right to use that content long after furloughing the musicians and cutting off benefits. 

The only assistance management is offering towards health care is a one-time stipend to each Musician, equal to roughly two weeks of COBRA coverage for the average ISO family plan. Management has given no indication when the furlough will end or benefits restored. The musicians’ labor agreement expires on September 6.

The current furlough comes after the funds granted to the ISO through the Payroll Protection Plan of the CARES Act were depleted. During the 8-week period these funds were available, the Musicians received only 75% of their salary, the required minimum of the government loan provisions. Musician representatives were told the remaining funds would be saved for use for other organizational needs at a later date.

At the end of fiscal year 2019, the ISO endowment was valued at $97 million. ISO management informed Musicians of the ISO that they will not seek to use any of these funds to mitigate the organization’s financial needs during the current economic challenge. 

Musicians of the ISO seek to be leaders in our city’s cultural reemergence amidst the challenges our community faces by producing music to inspire, challenge and entertain — values at the core of the ISO mission statement. Repeated invitations by the Musicians of the ISO to ISO management for collaborative discussions to find innovative and mutually beneficial ways to meet these goals for all the stakeholders of the organization during the current pandemic have been ignored. 

If you have further questions for the Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, please contact Brian Smith, Orchestra Committee Chair at ‪(317) 451-9326.

  • ICSOM (International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians) represents the 52 largest orchestras in the US. Additional questions about ICSOM may be directed to Paul Austin (, (616) 304-0869).