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BSO Belts Tighten One More Notch

Yet again, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s musicians are tightening their belts. Three months after voluntarily conceding a million dollars through pay cuts and furloughs, the orchestra’s players have approved extending both of those cost-saving measures, increasing the reduction in their incomes from 5.7% to 12.5% in the 2009-10 season.

The orchestra has been hit badly by the ongoing financial climate, with a 21% decrease in revenue from single-ticket sales and, even more critically, a 21% decrease in the value of its endowment. Although the total number of individual donations rose 26% last season to compensate for the financial climate, the amount of each donation decreased: more people are giving less. The orchestra’s budget for the 2009-10 season, after the cuts, will be $24.9 million – 13% less than the budget for 2008-09.

The April announcement of voluntary cuts also marked the start of a $2 million fundraising drive, “Music Matters,” which to date has raised $750,000. It’s not enough. In a statement, Paul Meecham, the orchestra’s president and CEO, observed that “the economic downturn has caused us to make difficult decisions in order to secure the future of the organization.”

The Music Matters campaign has, however, sparked a number of community performances by orchestra members, and may contribute to something of a sense of solidarity. In the same statement, Laurie Sokoloff, a piccolo player and chairman of the Players’ Committee, said, “I have never been more proud to be a member of the Baltimore Symphony.”

By Anne Midgette  |  July 30, 2009; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  news  
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Anne, Your blog has become a daily destination for me (and I live in San Francisco). Even when I don't agree with you, I find your writing, and those of the blog's other contributors, interesting.

Thank you so much!

Posted by: CruzerSF | July 30, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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