In Thursday’s (2/18) Columbus Dispatch, Jeffrey Sheban reports that, “With its finances deteriorating fast, the Columbus Symphony is looking to eliminate more staff positions while asking musicians—fresh off a 25 percent pay cut last year—to absorb further salary reductions. Because of continued weakness in corporate, foundation and individual donor support, officials said, the orchestra is facing a $1.5 million deficit heading into the second half of its current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. … Forty-six full-time musicians were briefed on the situation Monday, and their union leaders have been in discussions with [Board Chairman Martin] Inglis and [President and CEO Roland] Valliere for more than a week. Because the musician contract runs through August 2011, any concessions before that date would have to be voluntary. Although fundraising efforts will continue—a new $100,000 challenge grant put up by a donor will be announced Saturday at the classical concert—significant reductions in musician pay are all but inevitable, union and management officials told The Dispatch. Both sides said they’d like to have an agreement by early March. … Additional savings will be sought by outsourcing or combining staff positions with one or more central Ohio arts groups, Valliere said. The move could affect the 18 symphony employees involved in finance, ticketing, marketing, fundraising and concert production.”

Posted February 18, 2010