San Antonio Symphony is facing a financial crisis—how did other orchestras manage to come back?

Posted on: October 21, 2021

The San Antonio “Symphony Society on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the San Antonio Symphony’s first two concerts of the season, Oct. 29-30 and Nov. 5-6,” writes Nicholas Frank in Wednesday’s (10/20) San Antonio Report. “With its musicians on strike and its 2021-2022 season imperiled, the symphony appears to have no savior on the horizon to rescue it from ongoing financial woes, including a $2 million budget deficit in 2019 and a $3 million shortfall for 2020…. On Sept. 26 the board imposed a new contract on its musicians that would cut wages and nearly halve the full-time complement of the orchestra from 71 to 42 players, with the remainder to be made up of 26 even lower paid part-timers…. The next day, the musicians declared the strike…. Corey Cowart, the symphony’s executive director, has said that a $5 million annual budget would create conditions for stability, and better fundraising prospects…. San Antonio now faces the possible end of the full-time professional symphony it has known since 1939.” The article discusses successful approaches to challenging finances taken by the Louisville Orchestra and Louisiana Philharmonic. Said San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing, “We should not go back to status quo.”