“For first time in five years, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra finds itself in the red,” writes Andrew Patner in Wednesday’s (10/19) Chicago Sun-Times. “At its annual meeting Wednesday afternoon, the CSO Association reported a deficit of $927,000 on operating expenses of $64.7 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Riccardo Muti’s first season as CSO music director saw a record level of fund-raising success. But his two extended absences for illness, and an unprecedented number of cancellations by solo recitalists and an entire sold-out visit by the Cleveland Orchestra meant lost revenues that resulted in the CSO’s first deficit since 2006. ‘We believe that it is very important not to try to hide any aspect of our circumstances,’ CSO Association president Deborah F. Rutter said in a phone interview Wednesday before the meeting at Symphony Center. ‘And we do so in the larger context of being individually and comparatively a very strong institution and facing a very good future.’ … Bass player Stephen Lester, chairman of the CSO players’ committee, told the gathering that this had been a year of ‘wild swings, tragedies and wonderful triumphs’ for the orchestra. Through all of this, Muti has been not only our ‘great musical inspiration, constantly pushing us to improve,’ he said, ‘but also shown himself to be a warm and caring human being with true insight and commitment to all of the communities we work with.’ ”

Posted October 20, 2011