In Friday’s (12/10) Detroit News, Michael H. Hodges reports, “The depth of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s financial problems was underscored on Thursday when management revealed an $8.8 million deficit for fiscal year 2010, which closed in August. That figure, which includes a $6.7 million operating shortfall and about $2 million in pension obligations and debt service on the Max M. Fisher Music Center, amounts to almost 30 percent of the orchestra’s $29.3 million annual budget. Further weakening the DSO’s financial picture is the ongoing musicians’ strike that began Oct. 4 and has resulted in management canceling orchestra concerts through Saturday. … The orchestra has financed previous annual shortfalls by drawing down the principal on its unrestricted endowment … Foundation and corporate contributions, particularly from the automakers, dried up after the financial crash. Ticket sales dropped more than 17 percent in fiscal year 2010 to $6.95 million from $8.4 million in 2008. At Thursday’s annual meeting, DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons reiterated the need to reduce the budget. ‘These times and the times ahead will be defined by the attitude we take today,’ she said. ‘We continue to act on our belief that change is imperative to our success.’ ”

Posted December 10, 2010