Perlman leaves financially challenged Westchester Philharmonic

Posted on: February 23, 2011

In Wednesday’s (2/23) Wall Street Journal, Erica Orden writes, “One of the world’s most celebrated musicians, violinist Itzhak Perlman, has resigned from his position as artistic director of the Westchester Philharmonic. Mr. Perlman’s high-profile 2007 appointment was heralded as a turning point for the beleaguered orchestra, and his abrupt departure is a bruising development for a company that has struggled to stay afloat. … The philharmonic’s executive director, Joshua Worby, said the orchestra and Mr. Perlman had ‘mutually agreed to dissolve the remainder’ of the contract. It was set to expire in June. ‘The orchestra continues to be challenged by our financial situation and the changes we’re making were designed to mitigate those challenges,’ Mr. Worby said Tuesday in a phone interview. … The famed musician’s association with the orchestra helped attract audiences, with the philharmonic’s box-office revenue more than doubling since the start of his tenure. But classical-music companies rely much more heavily on donations than on ticket sales, and Mr. Perlman’s presence failed to bolster that critical source of income, as the orchestra’s management hoped it would. Contributions and grants fell 31%—to $526,785 from $765,891—between its 2008 and 2009 fiscal years, according to tax returns.”

Posted February 23, 2011