New Jersey Symphony Dips Into Endowment to Fight Cash Crisis

Classic Arts News   New Jersey Symphony Dips Into Endowment to Fight Cash Crisis
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will cash in nearly a third of its $10 million endowment fund in order to reduce deficits and meet loan payments.

Stephen Sichak, the orchestra's interim director, told the Newark-based newspaper The Star-Ledger that the NJSO finished the recently-ended fiscal year with a six-figure deficit, one which is apparently smaller than the $892,000 deficit recorded in 2004. The orchestra posted a $27,000 surplus in 2005.

Under the plan, $3.1 million from the NJSO's endowment will be paid to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Instrument Conservancy, a separate entity created by the ensemble in 2003 as the legal owner of its rare 30-piece "Golden Age" collection of string instruments, which was purchased in 2003. In return, the conservancy will sell the orchestra three of its most valuable instruments, which in turn will allow the orchestra to sell the instruments (two Stradivari violins and a rare Amati viola) to private donors.

Sichak told the paper that the move would help the NJSO cover basic expenses until finances are stabilized.

The Star-Ledger reported in February that the search for a new president and CEO to replace Simon Woods, who resigned in June 2005 to become CEO of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, had been suspended due to problems finding someone to fill the position. However, the paper reports that a new chief executive is now expected to be named by the end of the summer.

The 2006 budget shortfall comes despite a 10 percent increase in corporate donations and a 20 percent increase in foundation grants, according to the newspaper. Sichak said that the problem was falling revenue from a trimmed schedule, which saw a quarter of concerts cut last season.

The NJSO's 2006-07 season, which opens on October 20 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, will include the nine Beethoven symphonies, five of which will be conducted by incoming music director Neeme J‹rvi. The orchestra is also continuing its presentation of Haydn's twelve "London" Symphonies. Other highlights include concerts of J‹rvi's favorites, including lesser-known works such as violin concertos by Baltic composers Balys Dvarionas and Peteris Vasks and a piece by Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson. NJSO premieres include John Adams's Shaker Loops, Faur_'s El_gie and Rolf Martinsson's A. S. in Memoriam, receiving its American premiere.

Recommended Reading: