After dispelling a rumor that Music Director Ignat Solzhenitsyn would be leaving Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, David Patrick Stearns writes in Tuesday’s (6/23) Philadelphia Inquirer, “In the face of diminishing corporate donations that are affecting most performing arts groups, the orchestra, which had a $2.2 million budget last season, has cut its administrative work week to four days. Management is now negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with the musicians; obviously, said [Executive Director Peter H.] Gistelinck, with a shorter season of self-presented concerts, remuneration will be lower. Nonetheless, he said the ‘abbreviated’ season is temporary and that he has a three-year plan to bring the orchestra back up to something close to last season’s 10-program Kimmel Center schedule. … The big picture that emerged over an hour’s interview with Gistelinck was of an organization that admirably earns half its budget (in contrast to the standard 30 percent in the industry), doesn’t have deficits, and is making pre-emptive moves to stay that way—especially since there’s no endowment to fall back on. Subscriber renewal rate of 79.8 percent is quite high. … The orchestra also has a new residency with the under-construction Lansdale Center for the Performing Arts with chamber-scale concerts featuring Solzhenitsyn and concertmaster Gloria Justen.”

Posted June 23, 2009