Cleveland Orchestra tightens its belt

Posted on: April 6, 2009

“Like many arts institutions around the country, the Cleveland Orchestra is hurting,” writes Zachary Lewis in Sunday’s (4/5) Plain Dealer (Cleveland). “Executive director Gary Hanson says the once-successful ‘Turnaround Plan’ is definitively ‘not on track’ and a budget deficit this year of between $4 million and $5 million is ‘likely.’ Meanwhile, the endowment, the orchestra’s safety net, is down 26 percent, from $128 million to under $95 million.” Lewis notes the staff pay cuts the orchestra announced March 24. “But while financial straits at Cleveland’s cultural gem are distressing in themselves, their potential artistic ramifications constitute even greater cause for concern.” The orchestra has already decided to cancel tour dates and program fewer works with extra musicians. “Potentially more significant are those decisions whose effects have yet to materialize, including management’s resolution to achieve concessions from the musicians when their contract expires in August, and the choice not to fill three orchestral positions. Which three has yet to be determined. … But even the musicians recognize that today’s economy calls for universal sacrifice.”

Posted April 6, 2009

Photo: Franz Welser-Möst
Credit: Roger Mastroianni