Press Release

Posted On

June 1, 2019 Alexis Dagit – 319-214-3155


[CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA] – Before the start of Orchestra Iowa’s season finale masterworks concert on June 1, 2019 at the Paramount Theatre, it was brought to the attention of the Board and Management of Orchestra Iowa that individuals were distributing flyers to patrons as they entered the building which alleged a musician wage disparity between Orchestra Iowa and other peer symphony orchestras.

Orchestra Iowa’s Management is engaged in amicable, good-faith contract negotiations with the American Federation of Musicians Local 137 nearing six-months, having begun in January 2019. The ongoing negotiations continue to progress, as the existing musician contract expires with the organization on June 30, 2019. Current wages were determined and mutually agreed upon by both Orchestra Iowa Management and the local union in 2016.

Located in the second largest metropolitan area in Iowa, Orchestra Iowa pays musicians the second highest rate of all symphony orchestras in the state. The peer orchestra comparison supplied by the musicians drastically misrepresents an accurate and fair appraisal of symphonies which operate in a region comparable to eastern Iowa. A list of peer orchestras sent to Management by the musicians negotiating committee last month include some symphonies which serve communities who have a cost of living nearly 50-100% higher than that of Cedar Rapids.

Orchestra Iowa Management recognizes the talent and dedication of its musicians. Being able to offer musicians fair and equitable compensation for their time and skill is of utmost importance. Orchestra Iowa Management strives to support its musicians by both celebrating their artistry and rewarding their commitment. Management looks forward to continuing contract negotiations with the local union and hopes to reach a mutually agreeable outcome in the near future.


Founded in 1921, Orchestra Iowa is widely recognized as the state’s premier symphony orchestra. The Orchestra’s mission is to foster enjoyment of, and support for fine symphonic music through quality performances, education and community involvement. Under the direction of Timothy Hankewich, Orchestra Iowa performs more than 150 public performances throughout the year, many of which can be heard on Iowa Public Radio. Orchestra Iowa showcases its artistic excellence each season through an accomplished array of classical, ballet, opera, popular and chamber performances, in addition to extensive community education and involvement.