Orchestras announce balanced budgets

The Minnesota Orchestra joined the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in announcing a balanced budget today.

MnOrch has a $8,000 surplus on a $30.8 million budget. Last year the Orchestra’s budget was $32.5 million. The cuts were achieved through reduced expenses, including a wage freeze arranged with the musicians union. This is the fourth balanced budget in a row.

The SPCO balanced its $11 million dollar budget through similar belt tightening, including the cancellation of a planned European tour. This is the seventh consecutive season in the black for the SPCO, and remarkably it has no accumulated deficit and no external debt, which SPCO officials point out sets it apart from many other orchestras across the country.

Annual reports tend to accentuate the positive. The Minnesota Orchestra is celebrating the successful fundraising campaign to pay for the expansion and renovation of Orchestra Hall, and the triumphant mini-tour through the UK and Holland which included two nights at the Proms.

The SPCO highlights for 2009-2010 include Stravinski and Schumann celebrations, four new commissions, and a remarkable stream of big name performers who have played with the chamber ensemble.

However it’s clear that both organizations are being very careful to watch budgets in adifficult economy, and it’s likely tight fiscal times will remain.

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