Orchestras face recession through “shared ownership”

Posted on: March 8, 2010

In Thursday’s (3/4) Tulsa World (Oklahoma), John Peter Jeffries writes, “In 1765, the economy in the British colonies in North America was in shambles. A Philadelphia newspaper headline said, ‘The Times are Dreadful, Doleful, Dismal, Dolorous, and Dollar-less.’ For the past two years, many not-for-profit performing arts organizations would have agreed that this assessment could be applied to the present day. As the recession has lingered, ticket sales have stagnated, some foundations have shifted their support from the arts, corporate sponsorship has dried up and loyal contributors have sometimes cut back. Despite the revenue downturn, performing arts organizations have recently begun to find reason for optimism. … One approach that orchestras are using is ‘shared ownership, shared sacrifice.’ The pain of budget reductions has been apportioned to musicians and managerial staffs alike. … Ron Predl, executive director of Tulsa Symphony, indicates his organization has taken the concept of ‘shared ownership’ one step further. As Predl explains, ‘Tulsa Symphony has an innovative organizational structure, which involves orchestra members in every aspect of the organization. It is a model that can adapt readily to changing times.’ The fact that responsibility for every level of operations is shared inspires a greater team effort to solve problems.”

Posted March 8, 2010