New York City Ballet and Musicians Union Reach Deal on New Contract

Agreement Reached After Months of Negotiations and Salary Disputes

After months of negotiations and contentious debates over compensation, the New York City Ballet and the union representing its musicians have finally reached a deal for a new contract. The three-year agreement, expected to be ratified by members of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, includes a significant increase in compensation for the musicians. This development comes as the company kicks off its holiday run of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” a highly anticipated and financially lucrative production.

A Long-Awaited Resolution

The announcement of the new contract brings a sigh of relief to both the New York City Ballet and the musicians’ union, as the negotiations had been ongoing for several months. The main point of contention was the musicians’ demand for increased compensation, as they argued that they had been underpaid due to salary cuts implemented during the pandemic. With this new agreement, the musicians will see their compensation rise by approximately 22 percent over the course of three years, addressing their central demand.

The Importance of Music in Ballet

The New York City Ballet and the musicians’ union recognize the integral role of music in the world of ballet. In a joint statement, they expressed their satisfaction with the finalized agreement and their excitement for the upcoming season. Both parties acknowledged the significance of the collaboration between musicians and dancers, emphasizing that it is a hallmark of the New York City Ballet. The agreement ensures that the company can continue to showcase the talents of its exceptional musicians and dancers, who are renowned as some of the world’s greatest performers.

The Impact of the Pandemic

The salary cuts imposed during the pandemic had a profound impact on the musicians of the New York City Ballet. As live performances were halted and financial uncertainty loomed, the company made difficult decisions to navigate the challenging times. However, the musicians argued that they bore a disproportionate burden of these cuts, leading to their push for fair compensation in the new contract. The agreement acknowledges their concerns and provides a path towards rectifying the financial strain they have endured.

The Nutcracker’s Importance

The timing of the contract agreement is particularly significant as it coincides with the start of the New York City Ballet’s annual production of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.” This beloved holiday tradition is not only a cultural cornerstone but also a major revenue generator for the company. With the musicians’ union now satisfied with the terms of the new contract, both the New York City Ballet and its musicians can focus on delivering exceptional performances and captivating audiences during this festive season.

The Future of Collaboration

The resolution of the contract negotiations sets a positive precedent for future collaborations between the New York City Ballet and its musicians. As the company continues to navigate the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, this agreement serves as a testament to the importance of recognizing and valuing the contributions of all artists involved. It also highlights the significance of fair compensation and the need to support the arts community as it strives to recover and thrive.


The New York City Ballet and the musicians’ union have reached a significant milestone with the agreement on a new contract. The musicians’ demand for increased compensation has been met, providing them with a well-deserved raise over the next three years. As the company embarks on its holiday production of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” the resolution of these negotiations ensures that the collaboration between musicians and dancers can continue to flourish, delighting audiences and upholding the artistic excellence for which the New York City Ballet is renowned. This agreement also sets a positive precedent for future collaborations and emphasizes the importance of fair compensation and support for the arts community as it strives to recover from the challenges of the pandemic.






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