Oregon Symphony season: artistic successes, but $1.5 million deficit

Posted on: June 22, 2009

In Saturday’s (6/20) Oregonian (Portland), David Stabler writes, “The Oregon Symphony ended its season this month on an artistic high, with terrific playing, a coveted invitation to Carnegie Hall in 2011 and record tickets sales. But that still wasn’t enough to avoid a projected $1.5million deficit. … donations dropped 12 percent and the symphony’s endowment took a 30 percent hit. … So, when [President Elaine] Calder went to the musicians recently and asked them to give back roughly $525 a person from their year-end paychecks, they agreed. When added to other tax-benefit effects of the reduction, that equals a total of $50,000 the musicians returned. They also agreed to a choice of two cheaper health care plans. But next year, the cuts could go deeper still, up to a possible $1 million. In July, Calder plans to ask the musicians for $750,000 in pay cuts, she said. The orchestra numbers 76 full-time players, so that would represent about $10,000 a player. Entry-level salary for a section player is $45,924. … Other cuts already in place come from around the edges. The symphony will start the season 10 days later than last season, eliminating an annual neighborhood park concert in August.”

Posted June 22, 2009