Economic turbulence forces cuts at U.S. orchestras

Posted on: August 3, 2009

“Orchestras all over the country have seen their bottom lines shrink in the past year,” writes Konrad Marshall in Saturday’s (8/1) Indianapolis Star . “Many of them have compensated for the budgetary shortfalls with contract renegotiations and furloughs, as well as wage and hiring freezes. Most orchestras have found their revenue streams dropping not through lack of ticket sales or individual donations—which are holding firm—but by shrinking endowments and corporate contributions (which they expect to return eventually). ‘There has not been a mass exodus of fans, and no orchestra in the country has gone under,’ said John Bence, spokesman for the League of American Orchestras. ‘There’s a resiliency which speaks to the loyalty of the concert-goers and the role of orchestras in their communities.’ … Franz Welser-Most, music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Paavo Yarvi, music director of the Cincinnati Orchestra, both have agreed to reduced contracts. … ‘A number of music directors have willingly participated in reducing their salaries because they recognize that these are trying times for many orchestras,’ Bence said. ‘There’s a sense of shared ownership and shared sacrifice.’ ”

Posted August 3, 2009