Milwaukee’s musician-turned-administrator Niehaus faces “tough realities”

Posted on: November 6, 2013

“The sign in Mark Niehaus’ office reads: ‘If you don’t like change, you’re really going to hate irrelevancy,’ ” writes Bill Glauber in Sunday’s (11/3) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin). “Once the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet, he’s now the organization’s president and executive director…. The orchestra posted a $1.8 million deficit in its most recent fiscal year…. The biggest financial hitter in town, the Bradley Foundation, didn’t make a contribution in 2013, citing the need for the orchestra to look at its business model. Niehaus and others are now poring over spreadsheets and looking for savings. The union contract with the players has been reopened.… ‘I don’t have the magic wand…,’ he said. ‘I’m not Thor. But what I can do is get the right people in the right place to hopefully make decisions that will help the organization survive and thrive.’ … Michael W. Grebe, the [Bradley] foundation’s president and executive officer … [said] that the foundation hopes ‘to continue to be a major donor’ and that he has been impressed by Niehaus.… Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele … said that the symphony faces ‘a tough set of realities, but it sounds like there is a recognition by the board and Mark that they need to address them.’ ”

Posted November 6, 2013