Reflecting on Syracuse Symphony’s financial challenges

Posted on: February 1, 2011

In Tuesday’s (2/1) Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), Melinda Johnson writes, “Arthur C. Brooks knows orchestras. He played French horn in the Barcelona Municipal Orchestra. He wrote his 1998 dissertation on the economies of symphony orchestras, including the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra as a model for surviving financial crises. He looks at the current crisis facing the SSO, which needs to come up with $375,000 by Friday to meet February payroll and expenses or it will close, and he sees a familiar problem. … Brooks is an expert on philanthropy and nonprofits and a former professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. … He noted the SSO focused on a combination of raising revenues and cutting costs to solve a crisis in 1991-92, when poor finances forced the early end of its season. ‘After 1992, they did smart things to cut costs when they needed to,’ he said. … Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras, sees several promising signs in the early days of the SSO’s latest crisis. He points to the unified response by SSO management, board chair and musicians … ‘That, in itself, I think, is an important ingredient to building confidence, gaining confidence in the leadership of the organization, good alignment,’ Rosen said … Beyond its financial rebuilding, he said the SSO must build relationships with stakeholders in the organization’s future, thereby creating more allies. He also stressed forging creative partnerships.”

Posted February 1, 2011