“The Honolulu Symphony is in serious financial straits,” writes Michael Tsai in Monday’s (5/11) Honolulu Advertiser. “It has a plan for getting out of those straits, but as the plan is being implemented, it needs a serious influx of cash to cover its expenses. … It’s been a season of rave reviews for the 109-year-old orchestra, a testament to an organization whose members have continued to play despite partial payments and missing paychecks for much of the season, board member Valerie Ossipoff said. … The orchestra owes its musicians roughly 12 weeks of back pay, about $1.8 million total. It will need about $500,000 to clear other expenses and ensure that it doesn’t enter its 2009-2010 season further in debt. … The orchestra would surely welcome another miracle bailout, but its leadership says such intervention wouldn’t address the underlying problems that have led to a seemingly endless cycle of looming financial crises and desperate pleas for support. … [Executive Director Tom] Gulick said the orchestra needs to reduce its operating costs by 10 percent to 20 percent, and he has made recommendations for ‘efficiencies’ that would save about $1.4 million. Gulick said the cuts would not include positions in the orchestra, which he said is already operating at ‘a bare minimum.’ The orchestra has 63 full-time members and employs about 20 others for some performances.”

Posted May 13, 2009