For Florida Orchestra, a big turnaround years in the making

Posted on: December 2, 2015

“The biggest moment in the history of the 48-year-old Florida Orchestra came without a sound,” writes Alexis Muellner in an extensive article in Friday’s (11/27) Tampa Bay Business Journal (Florida; subscription required). “As new Music Director Michael Francis took the dais and raised his wand to begin TFO’s new season in October, it capped a rather remarkable turnaround for the organization…. For the first time in more than 20 years, the orchestra is out of debt, and has paid off $3 million—between what it owed banks and itself, said President and CEO Michael Pastreich.” Following a 2010 collective bargaining agreement that cut back the number of full-time musicians and shrank the season, “Pastreich hired Georgia-based workplace consultant Steve Sherwood to work with the musicians and rebuild the relationship…. By mid-2012 … it negotiated a contract with its musicians before the beginning of the next season.… [The] TFO had plans to raise $25 million ahead. ‘If we had a contract and strong working relationship with the musicians, that would help raise the money,’ Pastreich said.… The endowment is at an all-time high of $17.8 million…. At just 24 weeks in 2010-2011, the musicians are now up to 31 weeks with a long-term goal of 38.”

Posted December 2, 2015

Pictured: Michael Francis leads the audience in the “Star Spangled Banner” at the Florida Orchestra’s October 3 concert at the Mahaffey Theater. Photo by Monica Herndon