“The deepening recession has grabbed hold of Buffalo’s two cultural pillars,” write Mark Sommer and Tom Buckham in Saturday’s (4/25) Buffalo News. “The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will take stringent steps, including layoffs and salary cuts for administrators, to contain financial losses and ensure long-term sustainability. ‘We now face the possibility of a significant operating deficit this year and perhaps for several years to come,’ Cheryl Howe, chairwoman of the orchestra’s board; JoAnn Falletta, the music director; and Daniel Hart, executive director, warned in a letter to donors and patrons. … Both Falletta and Hart took 10 percent salary decreases and have pledged $50,000 apiece to help shore up orchestra finances. The staff was slashed to 21 from 28 full-time members, while the number of part-time positions will go to nine from five as of Friday. Overall administrative wages and benefits were reduced 12 percent, with senior staff members taking a voluntary 5 percent pay cut. Beginning Friday, the staff will pay into the orchestra’s health insurance plan, resulting in projected savings of 12 percent to 15 percent. … Falletta is reworking programs to save money without compromising performance, and a special one-week ticket sale brought in $3,000, demonstrating that despite ‘great price sensitivity’ in the market, ‘there is also great demand for our product,’ Hart said.”

Posted April 27, 2009

Photo credit: Cheryl Gorski