Beyond contract settlement, challenges and opportunities for Atlanta Symphony

Posted on: September 10, 2012

In Saturday’s (9/8) Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required), Craig Schneider and Ernie Suggs write, “Even after the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its musicians sign a new contract, the symphony will face major long-term challenges, starting with erasing a projected $20 million debt. National experts who follow the fortunes of orchestras echo what many ASO patrons and musicians fear—that significant changes may be necessary. The question is: Can the ASO regain its financial footing without cuts that will diminish the quality of the music? … ASO President Stanley Romanstein told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that the quality of the music is the ‘prime criterion’ of his 5-year recovery plan. Romanstein acknowledged that 10 years of financial instability ‘limits your vision.’ But he laid out a turnaround strategy he says can restore the institution’s financial health without compromising its artistic standing. … Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras, said that over the past two years, half or more of the 200 orchestras that report to the League were running deficits, although last year was better than the one before. Many symphonies are also weathering diminished attendance by college-educated adults, he said. … [Atlanta Symphony] management and the musicians’ union remained at loggerheads over the ASO’s demand to trim $2.6 million a year from the musicians’ compensation. No further talks are scheduled, but no concerts have been canceled, either.”

Posted September 10, 2012