“Shared-pain” restructuring at Milwaukee Symphony to address $2M deficit

Posted on: December 9, 2013

“The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra said Friday that it will cut the size of its orchestra and change its schedule of performances while seeking emergency financial assistance in an effort to address a multimillion-dollar budget deficit in its last fiscal year,” writes David Schuyler in Friday’s (12/6) Business Journal (Milwaukee). “MSO spokeswoman Susan Loris said the symphony reopened its contract with the musicians’ union, reaching a new agreement that will allow the restructuring in the orchestra’s size. The orchestra, which had already been downsized from 88 to about 79 members under previous cost-cutting efforts, will be shrunk again by another 11 percent for next season to number in the mid- to upper-60s. The MSO also eliminated seven administration employees, and now has a staff of 30…. [President and Executive Director Mark] Niehaus said between the $2 million shortfall last year and a projected budget gap this year, the MSO needs to $5 million in order to continue to operate. He said that money needs to be raised within a couple of months. The budget is being shrunk to $15.8 million from $17.9 million a year ago. ‘It’s a shared-pain plan for everybody,’ Niehaus said, referring to the staff cuts, reductions in staff benefits, musician concessions and the need for donations.”

Posted December 9, 2013