In Friday’s (7/24) Orange County Register (California), Timothy Mangan writes, “Orange County’s classical music institutions, like most nationwide, were hit hard by the economic collapse of late 2008. Opera Pacific, the county’s only opera company, shut down shop for good in November after 22 seasons plus. The other major classical music organizations in the area—including the Philharmonic Society, the Pacific Symphony, the Pacific Chorale and the Orange County Performing Arts Center, all non-profits—watched the wreckage burn and braced for the worst. It came, but for the most part they were ready. As these groups end their most trying fiscal year ever, they remain standing and, if not quite without injury, ready for the next round. … Protecting the artistic product is the No. 1 priority for all these groups, but John Forsyte, president of the Pacific Symphony, has a special challenge in that regard. His musicians, who play under a per-service contract (they are paid separately for each rehearsal and concert), are in the third year of a five-year agreement promising substantial pay increases. The orchestra’s revenue must continue to grow to meet these demands. … It’s the administrative staff that’s taking the hit, with pay cuts and, for one quarter, furloughs. One staff member was let go. Music director Carl St.Clair and Forsyte have shared in the pain, too, taking a larger proportional cut in their salaries than other, lower paid staff.”

Posted July 27, 2009