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Symphonic crisis in Columbus

February 7, 2008
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Our big-ish city neighbor to the east, Columbus, Ohio, is facing problems with its orchestra.

Wrestling with $1.5 million deficit this season, management has proposed downsizing from 52 to 31 full-time players. A truncated season (cutting out 12 of the usual 46 weeks of performances—and pay) is also on the table.

The musicians have responded in the expected irate fashion, stating that is a governance problem, not a financial one. (See their statement here.)

By comparison, our own Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra balanced its $26.7 million budget for the fourth straight year in 2006-2007 without any cuts in programming or musical power. (See the ISO annual report here.)

So what is Columbus doing wrong? Or what are we doing right?

Or is there a point where a city just can’t support this sort of arts organization?

Your thoughts?
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