‘Raise $5 million in weeks, or the orchestra dies’

‘Raise $5 million in weeks, or the orchestra dies’


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2013

The plight of the Milwaukee Symphony is even graver than we thought. A joint appeal from the management and the musicians, supported by the Journal- Sentinel, reveals that the organisation does not have enough cash left to finish the season. Several regular donors have balked at being asked for yet another bailout gift and there is some question at to whether the community at large recognises the continued value of having an orchestra.

There will be much impassioned advocacy done in the coming weeks. Perhaps the persuaders should start by distributing the latest evidence on how much the arts contribute each year to the US economy. Read it right here.


milwaukee symphony


  • classicinformerill says:

    Weird that there is no mention of the appeal on their home page.


    The Milwaukee Symphony might consider an appeal to those civic-minded Koch brothers who can certainly find sufficient monies to fund several seasons. The Milwaukee-ites could pledge the performance of ONLY conservative music eschewing the more dangerous repertoire post 1900. The Kochs might not be able to resist such a proposal.This would be a plutocratic panacea. Good luck!

  • John Porter says:

    I thought that hiring a musician CEO was going to be transformative…?

  • Steve Foster says:

    A clearer sign that orchestras need to live within their means couldn’t exist.

    (I’m looking at you, “Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.”)

    • MacroV says:

      I don’t think you can compare the situations, or the surrounding economies. And I’m pretty sure the Milwaukee SO doesn’t have a $150 million endowment, like Minnesota.

  • sixtus says:

    I found this line in the article particularly snarky, considering what is happening in a neighboring state: “Unlike in other cities, these difficult changes are being made with the thoughtful cooperation of the artists on stage. The musicians realize that there may be no orchestra without sacrifices.”

  • Jstrauss says:

    It was know for quite sometime that there was a structural deficit, why wait so long to go public? They should have been in ‘help us’ mode and always advertising the need.

    I wonder if by the reduction in players, people will be less likely to support what to many may now be the perception of a weaker orchestra.

    A musician CEO remains a musician – not necessarily a financial wiz! Does anyone know if he had any major administrative experience?

  • Paul Sullivan says:

    Considering the repetitive pap they play, like most U.S. orchestras, I’m not surprised. As a full season subscriber to the BSO the only performances this year I haven’t heard multiple time will be Wagner’s Reinzi overture and Rimsky Korsakov’s Cappriccio Espagnol, which I will attend twice for each one; at least it’s not the same Beethoven, Schuman, Mozart, Brahms, Mahler and the rest of the usual suspects I have heard endlessly and am quite tired of listening to.

    • Michael says:

      Sorry about having to listen “endlessly” to ” pap” like Beethoven ,Mozart Brahms and Mahler . I can see now why the orchestra is about to fold.