Budget cuts help Minnesota Orchestra post small surplus

Posted on: December 3, 2010

In Thursday’s (12/2) Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Jeff Wheeler writes, “The Minnesota Orchestra balanced its budget for fiscal 2009-10. Tight financial controls resulted in a slim $8,000 surplus on expenses of $30.8 million, even as attendance and donations fell. ‘This was a season characterized by disciplined budget management and significant expense cuts, which kept our operations stable in an unpredictable environment,’ said board chair Richard Davis at the organization’s annual meeting Wednesday. Expenses for fiscal 2010 were cut 5 percent from the previous year’s budget. While capacity for all concerts rose by 1 percent to 72 percent, actual attendance fell 7 percent, to 250,000 from 270,000 in fiscal 2009. This was possible because the orchestra offered 16 fewer concerts, a dropoff of 9 percent from 2008-09. President and CEO Michael Henson said this was part of the orchestra’s financial strategy as it tries to budget with realistic expectations and continue to cut costs. … Total annual contributions continued to decline. This year’s $13.2 million was off 7 percent from $14.2 million in the previous year. … The orchestra has raised $43 million to refurbish Orchestra Hall. … Henson noted that fundraising continues for the project, part of a $100 million capital campaign encompassing artistic initiatives and endowment support.”

Photo by Stephanie Berger

Posted December 3, 2010