The Minnesota Orchestra posted a $1.5 million deficit on a budget of $28.6 million for the 2003-04 season, the orchestra announced. Officials said that the orchestra was on the right track, however, pointing to increased ticket sales and a successful fundraising campaign. Last year, the orchestra posted a deficit of $2.4 million.
The orchestra has created a three-year strategic plan that aims to eliminate the deficit by 2006-07. "We chose a measured, long-term approach to resolving our budget deficit rather than large-scale Draconian cuts in order to preserve the mission of the Minnesota Orchestra and our service to audiences and community," said orchestra president Tony Woodcock.
The Milwaukee Symphony's deficit in 2003-04 was a hefty $2.9 million, according to the Milwakee Journal Sentinel. The orchestra had projected a loss of $3.5 million at midseason, but laid off 17 staff members, saving about $600,000.
The layoffs will save the MSO about $1 million in 2004-05, but the orchestra is still spending beyond its means, with a budget of $16.8 million and projected revenues of $14.2 million.
Executive director Mark Hanson said that he hoped to reach a balanced budget and retire the current accumulated debt of $9.8 million by 2007.