Detroit Symphony announces $1.8 million deficit

Posted on: December 9, 2011

In Friday’s (12/9) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker reports, “The Detroit Symphony Orchestra ran a $1.8-million deficit on an operating budget of $17.4 million in 2011, figures that closely matched projections made by DSO officials in April when concerts resumed after a six-month musicians strike. … DSO executive vice president Paul Hogle said it was a miracle that the deficit wasn’t as high as $5 million or more considering the extraordinary tumult associated with the strike and that the DSO sold just $1.4 million worth of tickets compared to $7.2 million for the 2009-10 season. Two factors kept the deficit from mushrooming beyond expectations: $9 million in savings from orchestra salaries and benefits lost to the strike and $10 million in total fund-raising, a figure that also met revised spring goals. … Still, complex challenges remain. Even with a new musicians’ contract that cut salaries by 23%, the orchestra is projecting more than $7 million in deficits over the next two years and continues to seek relief from its banks on $54 million in debilitating debt it owes on the Max M. Fisher Music Center on which it has defaulted. … Board chair Stanley Frankel said substantial progress had been made in negotiations with representatives of the banks to restructure the orchestra’s debt but that important issues needed to be resolved before a deal could be reached.”

Posted December 9, 2011