Debt, loss of conductor among Southwest Florida Symphony challenges

Posted on: July 27, 2010

In Tuesday’s (7/27) News-Press (Fort Meyers, Florida), Charles Runnells writes, “On the verge of its 50th anniversary, the Southwest Florida Symphony finds itself in a less-than-festive mood. The orchestra owes $300,000—including $100,000 from this past season’s shortfall in tickets and donations—and it’s about to lose another conductor. Popular conductor Erich Kunzel died in September—and with him, ticket sales for his scheduled pops concerts, which dropped about 30 percent. Now chorus and ‘Holiday Pops’ conductor Joe Caulkins plans to leave the orchestra in December. … The symphony isn’t alone. Across the country, the recession has taken a bite out of orchestra ticket sales and donations. The Naples Philharmonic Orchestra borrowed $652,000 to balance its 2009-10 budget. Like the Southwest Florida Symphony, Naples also froze salaries. … Southwest Florida Symphony plans a ‘50 for 50’ fundraiser asking people to donate in multiples of 50 — whether that’s $50 or $50,000. … Southwest Florida Symphony plans more cost-cutting this coming season, including one less Around Town concert, a reduced orchestra size in some concerts and scaled-back plans for the 50th anniversary.”

Posted July 27, 2010