By Kate Andries
So we all know the economy is the crapper. And as I’ve pointed out in the past, the arts are usually the first to suffer when things turn financially south.
In no other arena does poor financial climate wreak havoc than in the world of classical music. Attendance to the symphony and the opera was already declining before this mess of an economy took hold, so now that things keep looking worse, the future of live classical music is looking pretty bleak.
Orchestras and opera companies are mostly non-profit organizations that require assistance from fundraising and endowment to survive. Since the financial climate is not so friendly, endowment for these operations is often withdrawn (the Metropolitan Opera has lost over 100 million dollars in endowment). This is leaving the companies to begin cutting the pay of musicians and performers to try and make up the difference.
Next month over 1,000 delegates will descend on Chicago for the 64th Conference of the League of American Orchestras. Despite the bleak outlook for many companies across the nation, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is suffering, sure, but not as harshly as others. The CSO is going on the defensive in order to save themselves.
Hopefully, other companies will take the same approach as the CSO to save themselves and attempt to thrive in the future. Hopefully what the CSO is doing to ensure a long life span will work. Because, really, it has to, or else it’s buh-bye to classical music in Chicago.