Orchestra lays off eight as donations, ticket sales drop

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will look to volunteers to help cover the work done by eight people who were laid off last week in a move to trim $600,000, or 2 percent, from the $29.5 million annual budget.

The layoffs affected the 80-person administrative staff, not the 87 union musicians. CEO Simon Crookall stated in a press release: "We will combat these economic challenges by operating as efficiently as possible without compromising our high artistic standards."

Spokeswoman Jessica DiSanto said managers will look to save in small ways, such as not hiring a car service to fetch guest musicians from the airport, or using volunteers as ushers.

The growth in ticket sales and donations that the organization saw in 2008 has evaporated. The ISO said the largely individual contributions to its Annual Fund are down 5 percent, while corporate giving is down 3 percent.

Ticket promos are becoming a regular event. Last month, the symphony offered any seat at any show in the remaining classical season for $25, and sold 4,700 tickets.

The symphony may face long-term financial problems as its endowment shrinks. The value as of Dec. 31 was $84 million, down 21 percent since the fiscal year ended Aug. 31.

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