Minnesota Orchestra posts $11.7 million deficit for fiscal 2020

Posted on: February 5, 2021

Minnesota Orchestra oboist John Snow and violinist Peter McGuire perform an outdoor concert at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, August 2020. Photo by Leila Navidi

“The Minnesota Orchestra has posted a record-breaking deficit. Its operating loss of $11.7 million is the largest in its history,” writes Jenna Ross in Thursday’s (2/4) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “COVID is one cause…. ‘We had to cancel about a third of our concerts in fiscal year 2020, along with our annual fundraising event, the Symphony Ball,’ President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns said… ‘Those two things combined had a very significant impact on our financials.’ … Across the country, with audiences erased or limited, ‘everyone’s earned revenue is completely, massively hit,’ said Simon Woods, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras…. Government support—first through PPP and soon through the Save Our Stages relief act … will be ‘absolutely critical’ in helping orchestras survive those losses, he said, but more is needed…. Gifts to the nonprofit [orchestra’s] annual fund reached $5 million in 2020, up from $4.6 million the year before…. ‘Why did their donations stay strong? Well, the music has gone on playing,’ said Woods.… Ensembles have grown bigger and repertoire more ambitious during Friday-night performances livestreamed online and broadcast on Classical MPR and Twin Cities Public Television…. ‘We haven’t been silenced by the pandemic,’ Burns said.”