In Sunday’s (4/5) Birmingham News (Alabama), Michael Huebner writes, “Shrinking revenues, declines in fundraising, mounting deficits and bankruptcies have become a repetitive dirge among symphony orchestras during the economic crisis. But Henry Fogel, who makes it his business to advise on the financial and artistic products of orchestras, believes things aren’t quite as bad as they appear. ‘The problem is, it’s the dire stories that make the news,’ said Fogel, who was in Birmingham on March 27 to take a close look at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s operations. ‘ “Orchestra balances budget” is not a news story.’ … From 2003 to 2008, he was executive director of the American Symphony Orchestra League (now called League of American Orchestras), the New York-based advocacy group that provides information and training programs and sponsors philanthropic endeavors for nearly 1,000 orchestras. … In Birmingham, he met with ASO staff, board members and musicians, and attended an ASO Coffee Concert at the Alys Stephens Center. He came away with a favorable impression. … The keys to success, he believes, are a superior artistic product backed by sound marketing and fundraising programs. He cited the ASO’s Symphony 7 series as an example of successful programming of modern music.” Symphony 7 is a Thursday-night concert series that fuses classical with jazz and rock.

Posted April 6, 2009