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Principal Flutist Settles Equal Pay Lawsuit With BSO

Elizabeth Rowe performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2016. (Courtesy Winslow Townson/BSO)
Elizabeth Rowe performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2016. (Courtesy Winslow Townson/BSO)

The principal flutist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra has settled her equal pay lawsuit against the organization. The case was dismissed, according to documents filed at Suffolk County Superior Court on Thursday.

Elizabeth Rowe sued the BSO in July, stating the pay disparity between her and principal oboist John Ferrillo violated Massachusetts’ Equal Pay Law. It was one of the first lawsuits under the updated version of the law. Rowe alleged she had met various times with BSO management since being hired in 2004 to talk about the wage gap but never reached an agreement.

According to the BSO’s 2016 tax filings, Rowe made 75 percent of Ferrillo’s annual salary, which was $286,621. The lawsuit had asked for more than $200,000 in back pay. The BSO claimed, in an earlier statement to the Washington Post, that Ferrillo’s larger leadership role warranted a higher salary than Rowe’s position.

The case went into mediation in December.

Rowe’s lawyer, Elizabeth Rodgers, told WBUR Thursday that “the matter has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”

In a joint statement, the BSO and Rodgers kept details of the resolution confidential, but said Rowe will continue to work for the orchestra.

The statement said that the BSO "continues to strive to be an industry leader in furthering the role of women at every level of the organization, including staff, management, and orchestra." It also pointed to how the BSO was the first orchestra to implement blind auditions back in 1952 to prevent discrimination.

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Cintia Lopez Arts Fellow
Cintia Lopez was a fellow for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team.

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