Financial struggles at two orchestras in New York state

Posted on: November 15, 2010

In Saturday’s (11/13) Wall Street Journal, Erica Orden writes, “Two New York-area regional orchestras are fending off their finales. The Westchester Philharmonic is surviving ‘day-to-day, hand-to-mouth,’ Executive Director Joshua Worby said, while the Long Island Philharmonic has not scheduled a spring season and in recent weeks lost its executive director, in what people familiar with the matter characterized as an abrupt resignation. … Regional orchestras that can’t rely on the prestige of a brand such as, say, the New York Philharmonic, have been unable to persuade patrons not to tighten their purse strings. … Regional groups also depend heavily on government grants, which have been hamstrung by the state’s fiscal crisis. The Long Island Philharmonic, for example, has yet to receive $81,500 worth of member-item grants awarded in 2009 through the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, and earmarked for last year’s season. … Payments have also been held up at the White Plains-based Westchester Philharmonic, as its debt has climbed to $385,000, according to Mr. Worby, who emphasized that while financial support for the group has been tepid, concert attendance has been especially robust. … It’s a ‘really anomalous existence,’ Mr. Worby said. ‘We’re selling out our house, but having a hard time paying our bills.’ ”

Posted November 15, 2010