At the Dallas Symphony, a look back at 1974 reboot as model for pandemic challenges

Posted on: May 26, 2020

“The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is facing the challenge of a lifetime,” writes Tim Giovanni in Thursday’s (5/21) Dallas Morning News. “Concerts canceled because of the pandemic have led to a significant loss in revenue.… The DSO is also evaluating its options for the fall. That the DSO survived a previous disaster, 46 years ago, owed much to the leadership of entrepreneur and civic leader Philip Jonsson, who died April 22 … at age 95. …In 1974, a history of shaky leadership and finances caught up with the orchestra…. Unable to pay its 86 musicians, the DSO suspended the rest of its 1974 season…. Jonsson … ‘was able to persuade the leaders in Dallas that the orchestra is a critical part of the city, for businesses, for individuals, for everyone,’ says Kim Noltemy, president and chief executive of the DSO…. The 2020 pandemic … is different from the [situation] in 1974, Noltemy says, because of the orchestra’s ‘excellent relationships’ with organizations in Dallas…. Although the DSO has implemented cost-cutting measures, it [has not] furloughed or reduced the pay of its musicians or staff…. The orchestra can still look back at Jonsson’s determined leadership and strategic partnerships as an example for how to address the challenges caused by the pandemic.”