In Sunday’s (12/19) Columbus Dispatch, Jeffrey Sheban writes, “Ten years removed from a critically acclaimed performance at Carnegie Hall in New York, musicians of the Columbus Symphony are playing a different tune: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?  Having endured a five-month shutdown of the orchestra in 2008 and a 40 percent reduction in pay and benefits during the past three years, unprecedented numbers are weighing their options. Eight of 49 full-time musicians will be on unpaid leave come January, with some pursuing careers outside music or seeking positions with other orchestras. … Among the absent will be concertmaster Charles Wetherbee, the highest-paid and best-known member of the orchestra—who will step aside to try out for the same position with the Kansas City (Mo.) Symphony in February and to devote more time to a string quartet. … Others include violinist Olev Viro, a 25-year veteran of the orchestra who is selling specialty insurance; oboe player Cynthia Stolba, who is attending law school; and principal bass player Mark Morton, who is teaching music at a college in Texas. … There are hopeful signs: Attendance has remained solid and corporate donations have rebounded since the orchestra cut annual expenses to $7 million from more than $12 million several years ago. Youthful Music Director Jean-Marie Zeitouni, hired in October … has given new energy.”

Posted December 20, 2010