In Wednesday’s (12/16) Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), David Burger writes, “Beethoven’s birthday came early this year, as the Eccles Foundation gave $1 million to the financially beleaguered Utah Symphony | Utah Opera to help sustain the viability of the state’s largest performing arts organization. This morning, as classical music fans celebrate the 239-year anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Spencer F. Eccles, chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, will present the grant to symphony musicians at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. It was the musicians’ generosity that inspired the gift, said Lisa Eccles, foundation president. … In October, musicians agreed to donate $1.3 million in salary and benefits for the 2009-2010 season. The unusual move came after musicians had already accepted a cut in salaries and benefits during the previous season that amounted to $445,000, as the arts group trimmed its annual budget by $2 million. The Eccles grant came as ‘a surprise,’ said Melia Tourangeau, USUO president and CEO. She said she had heard that Spencer Eccles had been ‘blown away’ by the musicians’ sacrifice.”

Posted December 16, 2009