Thursday, March 12, 2009

Teetering in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Orchestra, currently functioning with interim artistic and administrative leadership, has seen its endowment drop in value by 30 percent, $3 million in state and city subsidies disappear, donations drop by an average of 10 percent and ticket sales fall by 14 percent. It has canceled tour appearances and is cutting 18 administrative positions and reducing staff salaries to head off a $2.2 million deficit on a current operating budget of $46.6 million, Daniel J. Wakin reports in The New York Times.

“If the markets don’t turn, I can see catastrophe for American orchestras," says Frank Slattery Jr., the business executive serving as the Philadelphia Orchestra's temporary executive director:

The staff cuts are the latest sign of "pressing struggles" in the storied orchestra, writes Peter J. Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

UPDATE: Richard B. Worley, a 63-year-old investment advisor and longtime arts patron, has been named chairman of the Orchestra Association, the Philadelphia Orchestra's governing body, The Inquirer reported on March 19.