Orchestras seeking to be flexible, innovative in current economic climate

Posted on: October 11, 2012

Wednesday (10/10) on the National Public Radio website, Jeff Lunden reports, “It’s been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year. … Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, a service organization that represents professional and community ensembles, says the last half of the 20th century was a period of enormous growth for performing arts organizations. … But a lot of that money has dried up, and many orchestras, from the top tier to the bottom, have seen their subscription sales drop, endowments shrink and philanthropic giving decline. … Rosen, of the League of American Orchestras, says that for orchestras to survive in this economy, they need to be more flexible and innovative. He points out that the Colorado Symphony, which has had its own financial and labor challenges, has begun a new initiative. ‘They identified as revenue sources a number of communities surrounding Denver where the orchestra had never played before, because the venues were too small,’ Rosen says. … ‘Now they’ve opened up a new income stream by sending smaller groups into … as many as 25 different kind of satellite communities with smaller venues. And that always is a sign to funders that you merit their support, because your service to community is growing.’ ”

Posted October 11, 2012