Orchestra leaders look to change business model

Posted on: October 9, 2012

In Sunday’s (10/7) Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), Graydon Royce writes, “The Twin Cities rejoiced when New Yorker critic Alex Ross planted a wet kiss on the Minnesota Orchestra following a 2010 concert at Carnegie Hall. The ensemble again is the center of attention among the nation’s cultural cognoscenti, on far less cheery terms. Minnesota has become a lightning rod in the economic upheaval faced by numerous American orchestras recently. … A long view shows the business model in Minnesota relying more heavily on investment income. In 1962, ticket revenue accounted for 57 percent of expenses. Contributions figured for 39 percent and withdrawals from reserves covered 3 percent. In fiscal 2011, ticket sales made up 22 percent of expenses; contributions were 30 percent and withdrawals from investments covered 39 percent. Management has said that its endowment will disappear by 2018 at these rates. … Rosen tries to put the issues in a less temporal context. ‘The conversation needs to move up and out of how much money are we going to pay people,’ he said, ‘to the challenge of how the whole field becomes part of American life in the 21st century.’ ”

Posted October 9, 2012