Cincinnati Symphony on its way to financial solvency

Posted on: November 19, 2012

In Friday’s (11/16) Business Courier of Cincinnati (subscription required), Lucy May writes, “When Trey Devey became president of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra nearly four years ago, the financials were sharply off key. The CSO had a $6.2 million structural deficit, a pension system draining more than $1 million a year from the operating budget and a bad habit of dipping too far into endowment funds to help balance the books. … Fast forward, and the CSO’s tune has changed dramatically. The orchestra just ended its 2012 fiscal year with a slight surplus of $791. It has adopted fiscal policies that include limiting the amount it can draw from its endowment, requiring upfront funding for special projects and restricting the CSO’s ability to borrow. And those policies, along with gifts from donors, have helped whittle down the orchestra’s structural deficit—the fundamental imbalance in revenues and expenses—to less than $1.4 million. … An important part of the answer behind the CSO’s financial turnaround is Louise Dieterle Nippert. The well-known benefactor created the $85 million Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund in December 2009 … The CSO gets $3.5 million a year in additional support thanks to the fund, which is held separate from the orchestra’s own endowment.” League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen “called the fund a ‘very smart’ way to provide financial stability” to the CSO, Cincinnati Ballet, and Cincinnati Opera. The article discusses also the broad variety of other financial strategies the orchestra has followed.

Posted November 19, 2012