In Saturday’s (1/26) News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), Margie Fishman writes about the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, which ceased concert productions last summer, “projecting an $850,000 operating deficit after exhausting its reserve fund. The century-old institution halted performances, cut administrative staff and overhauled its leadership. On Friday night, following an eight-month hiatus of the full symphony, the DSO took the stage at The Grand in downtown Wilmington to perform Dvorak’s ‘New World’ Symphony. The theme is fitting. Just what this new world will look like remains a mystery. … Yet upheaval can spark innovation. Within the last five years, symphonies have experimented with new business models to retain existing patrons, cultivate new ones and trim expenses without degrading the core product: the music. … Negotiating financial minefields involves ‘shared ownership and shared sacrifice,’ said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, representing 800 symphonies nationwide. … It is difficult to compare symphonies to glean best practices because of differences in demographics, funding models and institutional legacies, Rosen said. More important is the process by which an orchestra addresses its specific challenges. Financial transparency is key, he added, as is enlisting community stakeholders and musicians in the restructuring effort.”

Posted January 28, 2013