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article imageDallas Symphony Orchestra almost bankrupt

By Jacki Viles     Nov 11, 2011 in Entertainment
Dallas - With more than 110 years of history serving the downtown Dallas arts community, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is hanging on for its economic life.
Metropolitan orchestras across the United States are close to becoming extinct. Financial troubles have forced many performance art programs into bankruptcy. The traditional model of relying on endowments, large estate gifts and patron donations to fund operating expenses is falling short as the economy continues to fail. Operating expenses to maintain a world-class symphony orchestra have skyrocketed.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra has about 90 days of operating expenses before it will require intervention from its board to allocate additional funds from a line of credit to offset its budget shortfall. The New York Times reports that it is running a $6.5-million deficit for this season.
The DSO is no stranger to economic difficulties. An international concert series was cancelled as far back as 2009 due to funding issues. The 2010-2011 annual report indicates that it had received an additional $20-million in an anonymous challenge grant that has no doubt helped to keep the doors open for that much longer.
With assets over $100-million, the challenge to remain relevant is compelling. The board has taken bold steps to rework the traditional business model for one that is more suitable to today’s fiscal realities.
With the main concert hall a little over half-full for performances, cutting the 21-week season to 16 and adjusting the schedule will allow more time for community projects. These changes will significantly reduce production costs.
There will be additions to the music education programs for adults and children along with more community outreach projects.
The Dallas musicians who have not had a raise in a few years have also agreed to a wage freeze. This follows a trend of classical musicians across the nation who have agreed to austerity measures to keep their orchestras' doors open.
While the Dallas Symphony braces itself for the next 90 days, many other performance arts companies are failing every day.
If you haven’t been to the theatre lately, treat yourself to a live production this holiday season. It can be a gift to yourself and a gift to your community.
More about dallas symphony, Orchestra, Bankruptcy, Performance art
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