Auditors: Baltimore Symphony may be ‘unable to continue as a going concern’

Auditors: Baltimore Symphony may be ‘unable to continue as a going concern’


norman lebrecht

July 15, 2019

The BSO has just released this report from its auditors. Needless to say, neither board of management nor chief executive take any responsibility for this appalling state of affairs.

It is not clear from the statement if the board are crying wolf in order to bully the locked-out musicians to accept a reduced contract.

Here’s the miserable document, hot off the press:

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Audit Opinion Expresses Substantial Uncertainty Regarding the BSO’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern

Audit Opinion Reemphasizes Financial Issues, Urgent Need to Reach New Contract Agreement

Baltimore, MD – Monday, July 15, 2019 – The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Inc. (BSO) today announced that the audit report on the BSO’s financial statements for the year ended August 31, 2018 notes that there is substantial uncertainty about the BSO’s ability to continue as a going concern. The audit opinion clearly confirms that the financial issues the BSO is facing are serious and serves as a stark reminder as to why the BSO management and board are doing everything possible to encourage productive contract negotiations with the musicians.

Guidelines from the Financial Accounting Standards Board require management and auditors to assess an organization’s ability to continue operating for a one-year period after the financial statements are issued, with the evaluation based on applicable conditions and events that are “known and reasonably knowable” at the date of issuance of the financial statements. Although the auditor’s report states that the financial statements have been accurately prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, the report highlights the substantial uncertainty regarding the BSO’s ability to continue as a going concern based in part upon concerns that the BSO will be unable to meet its contributed revenue and earned revenue forecasts while efforts continue to reach agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

“The audit opinion underscores the continued urgency that we reach an agreement with our musicians as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there has been no meaningful counterproposal from our musicians that addresses the financial issues our organization is facing,” said BSO President and CEO Peter Kjome. “This announcement makes it more clear than ever that we must ensure a sustainable business model that helps control costs while expanding revenues. It is vital that we move forward together toward a stable future. This will help support efforts such as enriching our community by reaching more diverse audiences and forging more meaningful connections to our communities in Baltimore, in Montgomery County and across the state.”

The BSO and Musicians’ Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, Local 40-543 will meet for a collective bargaining session on July 17, 2019 together with Federal Mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. At this point, the BSO awaits a response to management’s request for future bargaining dates beyond the week of July 15.

The collective bargaining proposal by the BSO in October 2018 includes a reduction from 9 weeks to 4 weeks of paid vacation for musicians while upholding a comprehensive 52-week benefits schedule for the orchestra. The proposed changes would have minimal impact on audiences due to the fact that reductions are primarily in the summer weeks when the Baltimore Symphony traditionally presents few performances.

The BSO’s audited financial statements show that the financial results for FY18 have improved versus the prior three years. While going concern uncertainty is not necessarily an indication of the future of an organization, when uncertainty about an organization’s ability to continue as a going concern exists, this must be disclosed in the financial statements. The audit report reinforces the critical importance of the work underway to move the BSO to a sustainable business model and ensure that the community continues to be home to an exceptional orchestra for years to come.


  • Max Raimi says:

    Perhaps orchestral musicians should start issuing reports stating that due to the difficulty of the music, the shortage of rehearsal time, and the ineptitude of the conductor, they will be unable to perform the program this week. If the job is too difficult for the board to do, they need a new board.

  • NYMike says:

    Beware the words “sustainable business model” used by other orchestras in the past to attempt draconian concessions from their musicians.

    • Bruce says:

      In my observation it means management wants to take the orchestra down to a lower level (i.e. to a regional orchestra like Columbus or Richmond); or, failing that, dismantle the orchestra and start a new one — maybe — at a semiprofessional level. Hopefully they won’t achieve this, but you can bet they’d be overjoyed if they did.

    • Brettermeier says:

      “Beware the words “sustainable business model” used by other orchestras in the past to attempt draconian concessions from their musicians.”

      I would be more concerned about unsustainable business models.

    • John Borstlap says:

      When Dr Guillotin proposed his contraption during a debate in October 1789, he called it a ‘Modèle soutenable de la constitution’, i.e. sustainable constitution model. Such proposels hardly ever spell improvement.

      • Brettermeier says:

        “‘Modèle soutenable de la constitution’, i.e. sustainable constitution model”

        I would have translated “soutenable” with “tenable” or “bearable”. But it’s been a while and I may be wrong.

        However, your translation seems a bit “target focused”.

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        How did le good Doc meet his maker?

        • R. Brite says:

          He wasn’t guillotined, in case that’s what you were thinking. Nor was it “his” contraption; he only championed it. The builder was a harpsichord maker named Schmidt, working under the supervision of the surgeon Antoine Louis and Charles-Henri Sanson, France’s executioner, fourth of his family to hold the post. Known originally as the louisette, the device eventually took the name of its chief proponent – presumably because the alternative was to call it the schmidtter.

  • Wladek says:

    If there is no public support nor private support for
    the orchestra what is all the fuss ? You just cut back
    to where you best function and if it means just four concerts year so be it .Symphony orchestras are not
    charitable concerns but entertainments for a minority
    of the population who think an orchestra is an absolute
    necessity to all lives .Let the minority dig deep into their pockets to support their entertainment and if they cannot
    support the next Beethoven cycle find a billionaire who
    will. Most folk have enough worry just to meet daily bills
    never mind worrying whether a musician gets 9 or 4 weeks
    of paid vacation. What arrogance !! most people are only
    too happy to get 2 weeks paid vac. never mind all other
    rising costs.No where is it written that Baltimore needs
    a symphony orchestra and if the citizens of Baltimore
    have money for other forms of entertainments and not the symphony so be it .

    • Max Raimi says:

      “a minority of the population who think an orchestra is an absolute necessity to all lives..”
      Bravo! You have just won the Straw Man of the Year Award! I have been playing in a major orchestra for more than 35 years and I have never met anybody who believes, let alone argues, that.
      Rather, we believe that the repertoire we perform is an extraordinary accomplishment on the part of humanity and that there is a cultural imperative in keeping it alive by performing it at a high level. We feel–indeed we know–that these performances are important artistic and, dare I say, spiritual experiences for the thousands of people in our city who come and hear us and thus are more than worth the funds that are required to subsidize them.

      • wladek says:

        Mr.Raimi is careful in not mentioning the name
        of his orchestra ,but he does go on that what he does as a symphony orchestra player is an
        extraordinary accomplishment on the part of humanity . If it were only so …that there are
        thousands of people attending his orchestra
        concerts is to be commended , what spiritual
        experience they get is what they bring and are
        capable of.. .Mr. Raimi might look up Stalin and
        Hitler …it was noted they experienced a great
        love for opera and symphony while laying
        waste to the continent and murdering millions.
        The spiritual experience in attending a concert
        is suspect and should be taken with a grain of salt, That he has an audience that is willing to subsidize his concerts for whatever reasons
        makes him a lucky man indeed.

        • John Borstlap says:

          That mass murderers enjoyed classical music and YET went on with their morbid business, ‘demonstrating’ the lack of good influence of the art form, is an old, worn-out argument of postwar modernist ideology and either ignorant or intellectually dishonest. The argument had to defend a new music without a psychological dimension which could ‘seduce’ people like Hitler and Stalin. We know that people with psychopathology can put part of their personalities in different, unrelated boxes, which leads to the conclusion that misundertanding the music is not the ‘fault’ of the music itself. If a criminal doesn’t respect the law, it is not the law where the problem resides.

        • Max Raimi says:

          Wow. Hitler and Stalin loved classical music, therefore classical music has no spiritual value. Hitler loved dogs, therefore…

        • EagleArts says:

          Why are you on this site? Please go be miserable somewhere else. Thanks

        • Luigi Nonono says:

          Your disgusting comparison ignores the fact that beauty and evil co-exist in this world, something leaders have to live with. You attempt to tie them together in true Communist fashion, that anything elite has to be the “enemy of the people,” which is utter garbage. Maybe you should be working on correcting the backward path Poland is currently taking.

          • Wladek says:

            Why should I care about the backward path Poland is currently taking ? Your reasoning is faulty and indeed strange .
            as usual you write from ignorance.

    • Y2K says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Modern orchestras have long outlived their usefulness. Couple of thousand cd’s and Youtube and most of us are content. Every year I look over the season of 10 or so orchestras and recital venues within driving distance. Nothing. It’s the same crap every year. The last time I went to a concert was 9 years ago and I’ve been to 100’s all over the world. I’m listening to Schnittke’s piano quintet on Youtube as I type this. It’s heaven for me.

      • Mick the Knife says:

        You are burned out, obviously. But many others aren’t.

      • John Borstlap says:

        That piano quintet is gripping music mourning a world without any faith in the better, spiritual nature of man, and thus without any understanding of music – an empty, meaningless world. You are listening to the result of what would happen if your comment were taken seriously in the cultural sphere.

        • Wladek says:

          It seems the age of enlightenment bypassed
          both Borstlap and Raimi with nary a scratch.Mr. Borstlap responds or rather
          pontificates and with each reply shows
          his lack of understanding to the art. As for
          the Raimi observations he is yet to find his
          thinking cap.

      • Stereo says:

        So if there weren’t any orchestras who do you think would make the recorded performances you so happily listen to?

      • Luigi Nonono says:

        Quality is MORE important than convenience! Live music cannot be compared to recordings. Anyone who chooses recordings over live music is helping kill off classical music, and does not truly love it. The real experience is live, acoustic, no amplification, pure, and you need to support that. No one makes money on recordings except the company.

    • drummerman says:

      You’ve raised some excellent points. I’d love to get 9 weeks paid vacation!

      The fact is that symphony orchestras do not exist for the purpose of providing employment to musicians.

      • John Borstlap says:

        I always found paid musicians very unfair. I’m working my tail off here and they just have fun with their violins and stuff. It would be much better if they did not exist and we had only recordings! That’s more than enough!


      • CA says:

        Most places of business go not exist for the purpose of providing employment. Look at the for-profit sector: these concerns exist for their shareholders first.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          CA writes: “these concerns exist for their shareholders first.”

          No, you are wrong. The shareholders are a residual claimant on the revenue of the firm AFTER everyone else has been satisfied.

      • Luigi Nonono says:

        Excuse me? Without musicians you cannot have a symphony orchestra. Teachers need rest and re-creation, so do musicians. And it’s a compensation for lower pay than they deserve. Meanwhile, they can teach or play at summer festivals and music camps, immeasurably enriching the lives of students and concertgoers. Without orchestras, the whole system falls apart, because for many instruments, there is no other place to play. And for nearly all, no other way to make a living. And if people can’t live, they can’t play.

    • Derek says:


      Much of what you outline is true.

      However, it’s just my opinion –

      Cultural activities and enterprises enrich lives.
      Many orchestras, art galleries, museums, libraries, dance and drama groups receive support.

      A good number of orchestras around the world are charities and provide special concerts for schools, disadvantaged people and underprivileged areas in society.

      You are right that most people are busy paying their own bills and cannot concern themselves with these organisations but it is a great pity if they fail through lack of support or poor management of resources. I hope a solution (such as private support, as you mention, or charitable incentives) can be achieved.

      A world without music, art and literature is a poorer place for anyone, and Baltimore deserves something better.

      The Baltimore Symphony appears to be in a serious plight. It may need all concerned to pull together and accept some sacrifices.

      • wladek says:

        Derek. how correct ! a world without music,art.
        literature is a poorer place ,but what type of
        music art,and literature that will draw the
        general publics’ support. Baltimore does not
        deserve anything better than what its citizens
        are willing to support unless of course it has a Lee Higginson as did the Boston symphony.
        Todays millionaires and billionaires have other
        causes and culture ain’t one of them..One
        cannot dictate how a person should spend their
        money and if Baltimore does not have enough
        money to support a full time symphony orchestra perhaps a chamber orchestra with
        less demands might do the trick.

        • Luigi Nonono says:

          Perhaps you would prefer if we reverted to having royalty who would provide the sponsorship. Only, even with that, Handel still had to rely on the wealthy to underwrite opera productions.

    • John Sorel says:

      What kind of orchestra do you believe can keep its ensemble and standards, playing only four concerts per year? Where will they work for the rest of the time??

    • Mick the Knife says:

      The city of Baltimore doesn’t have much to hang its hat on these days. The weakening of the BSO is another sign of the city’s further decline and lack of appeal to the educated, upper middle class as a place to roost. Tax base is diminishing, state is less willing to invest money in a lost cause. Yeah, the city desperately needs the minority the BSO serves.

    • Luigi Nonono says:

      You would be a murderer of classical music, then. Comparing art to basic necessities is inappropriate. They can both get along fine. There isn’t a lack of money, it is how it is used and misused. Talent and achievement are not arrogance, but accusing other people of it is.

      • Wladek says:

        Yes Mr.Nonono tell that to a father or mother putting food on the table while earning a basic
        salary that barely supports life never mind rent
        costs etc. etc. Yes tell the parents go out and
        buy tickets for the whole family to hear yet another rendition of Ludwigs’ people
        who argue 9 weeks of paid vacation while many families have to figure how to get a second job
        to see them through the next days meals.
        Ludwig was supported by those that cared about his work ,perhaps you would care
        to underwrite the costs for those that cannot afford the price of a concert ticket since it is
        not the lack of money as you note but how
        the money is used.

  • Most major cities in continental Europe have several 52-week season orchestras (see a sample list below which I’ve posted before-,) while most American cities cannot maintain even one 52 week orchestra. This neglect of the arts stems from the same social and economic concepts that have decimated our cities, an unmitigated form of radical laissez faire capitalism that sets the USA apart from the social democracies of every other developed country in the world.

    Even some cities in less rich countries like Mexico City and Caracas have multiple full time orchestras. Moscow has 12, London 8, Paris at least 6, Minsk 8, Munich 7, Vienna 7, Berlin 7, Prague 8, Stockholm 3, Budapest 9, Madrid 4, Barcelona 2, Athens 5, Bucharest 5, Caracas at least 6, and Mexico City at least 5. Here’s a list of these orchestras. Corrections welcomed. Even Tokyo has 8 full time orchestras.

    Readers note how Americans look at a list like this and still go into paroxysms of denial and rationalizations.

    + Moscow Chamber Orchestra
    + Moscow City Symphony Orchestra
    + Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
    + Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
    + Moscow Symphony Orchestra
    + Moscow Virtuosi
    + National Philharmonic of Russia
    + Russian National Orchestra
    + Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    + State Symphony Capella of Russia
    + State Symphony Cinema Orchestra
    + Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
    (Moscow also has more opera performances per year than any other city in the world, including Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London. Meanwhile, New York is no longer even in the top 10.)

    + London Symphony Orchestra
    + London Philharmonic
    + Royal Philharmonic
    + Philharmonia
    + BBC Symphony Orchestra
    + BBC Concert Orchestra
    + Royal Opera Orchestra
    + English National Opera Orchestra
    (There are several other worldclass orchestras in London that are not full time such as the London Sinfonietta, English Chamber Orchestra, and Academy of St Martin’s in the Field.)

    + L’Orchestre National de Radio-France
    + Orchestre de Paris
    + Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    + L’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris
    + Ensemle Intercontemporain
    + Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
    + Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup.
    + Orchestre Colonne,
    + Orchestre Lamoureux
    (The Paris Opera Orchestra has 170 members since the services must be rotated to meet demand. The last two orchestras are more marginal and may not be full time.)

    + Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    + Bavarian Radio Orchestra
    + Munich Philharmonic
    + Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
    + Gärtnerplatz Opera Orchestra
    + Munich Symphoniker
    + Munich Chamber Orchestra

    + Vienna Philharmonic
    + Vienna Symphony Orchestra
    + Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    + Vienna State Radio Orchestra
    + Volksoper Orchestra
    + Vienna Klang Forum
    + Tonkünstlerorchester
    (The VPO and State Opera Orchestra use the same personnel, but the ensemble has 149 positions so that they can rotate the services. I think there might be other orchestras in the city I don’t know about.)

    + Berliner Philharmoniker
    + Konzerthausorchester Berlin
    + Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    + Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
    + Orchester der Staatsoper Unter den Linden/Staatskapelle Berlin
    + Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
    + Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin

    +Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    + Czech National Symphonic Orchestra
    +Prague Symphony Orchestra “F.O.K.”
    +Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
    +National Theatre Opera Orchestra
    +The Capitol Prague Opera Orchestra
    +Prague Film Orchestra
    +Prague Chamber Philharmonic
    +Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
    +Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    +Royal Opera House
    +Stockholm Chamber Orchestra

    +Budapest Festival Orchestra
    +Budapest Philharmonic
    +Hungarian National Philharmonic
    +Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok
    +Hungarian State Opera Orchestra
    +Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    +Concerto Budapest
    +Danubia Orchestra
    +Hungarian Railway Symphony

    + Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid (royal opera)
    + Orquesta Sinfónica de la Radio y Televisión Española
    + Orquesta Nacional de España
    + Orquesta de la comunidad de madrid
    + Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya
    + Orquestra Simfónica del Gran Teatre del Liceu” (opera)

    + State Orchestra of Athens
    + Orchestra of Athens
    + National Opera
    + Radio Symphony Orchestra
    + Philharmonia Orchestra
    +State Orchestra of Thessaloniki
    + Orchestra of Thessaloniki
    + New Orchestra of Thessaloniki

    + National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra
    + Belarusian State Academic Musical Theatre Orchestra
    + National Academic Concert Orchestra (jazz/pop)
    + Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of

    + State Academic Symphony Orchestra
    + State Chamber Orchestra
    + State Academic Zhynovich Folk Instruments Orchestra
    + State Radio Symphony Orchestra

    + The George Enescu Philharmonic
    + The Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra
    + The National Romanian Opera Orchestra
    + Radio Chamber Orchestra
    + Bucharest Operetta and Musical Orchestra

    Caracas, Venezuela
    +Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela
    +Orquesta Filarmonica de Venezuela
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Juan José Landaeta
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Simon Bolívar A
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Simon Bolívar
    +Orquesta Sinfónica Barroca

    Mexico City
    + Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional,
    + Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México
    + Orq. Filarmónica de la UNAM
    + Orq. Sinfónica del IPN
    + Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes and
    Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes
    There are also two youth orchestras that are seen by some as providing full time jobs.

    + The NHK Symphony Orchestra
    + Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
    + Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
    + Tokyo City Philharmonic
    + Japan Philharmonic
    + New Japan Philharmonic
    + Tokyo Philharmonic
    + Tokyo Symphony

    • TubaMinimum says:

      I’m not sure if I would hold up the British model as well… model. The average London Symphony Orchestra salary would be considerably less than that of a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musician after they took the drastic pay cut management has proposed. I also imagine London might be a touch more expensive to live in.

      • Luigi Nonono says:

        I believe London musicians all play in several orchestras and everything is sight-read without or with minimal rehearsals.

    • MacroV says:

      Just to add a little clarification here, having lived a couple years in both Moscow and Prague:

      – In Moscow, even the big-name orchestras like the Russian National Orchestra or the Tchaikovsky SO play only about 15 concerts (usually just one performance per program) each season in Moscow; they seem to spend a lot more time touring. Take all the orchestras together and they might amount to two full-time U.S. orchestras, though a lot more programs.

      – In Prague the Czech Philharmonic plays 14 subscription weeks and together with various special programs one could hear them in about about 20 programs per season. They, too, spend a decent amount touring. The Prague SO plays about a dozen programs (usually two performances) a year in town. None of the other orchestras listed play more than 5-6 programs (usually one performance) in Prague per season. But the three opera houses are playing nightly about nine months of the years, so in total, a lot of opera.

    • H. Wynn says:

      But we have endless rock concerts. That’s America. Still would rather have our capitalistic society that socialism

      • John Sorel says:

        [[ That’s America. Still would rather have our capitalistic society that socialism ]]

        Don’t worry, Buddy – we’re not going to come and take your capitalism away from you! 🙂

        So you keep your endless rock concerts and banjo music… and we’ll keep the Bolshoi Ballet, free healthcare, free university education, low crime rates, and clean streets. Let us know if you need any extra cages to keep children in – we could build them for you real darn cheap.

        • Rico Quejada says:

          Free healthcare and education? Well, someone pays for it.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            It turns out to be much cheaper than the US model. US Healthcare costs twice as much and covers only half the population.

      • Max Raimi says:

        Socialism is defined as the government controlling the means of production. Which of Mr. Osborne’s examples emanated from a socialist country? You might have a different definition of socialism, regrettably common in the right wing today for all its mendacity–any tax money not spent on you.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Thank you William, that is entirely convincing.

      Interesting is that in Russia, classical music still has such high status. Having been employed by the regime, it was put into a mental prison, under a glass bell of state instructions to help legitimize a criminal government. But the art form survived in a cage, while in the west it has come under pressures of a very different kind – commercialism and populism. It is touching to see bunches of flowers being laid by audience members on the podium at concerts in St Petersburg after every programme item.

    • Max Raimi says:

      The daughter of one of my colleagues recently won a position as violinist in one of the Munich orchestras. Starting her new life, she took a cab in from the Munich airport. The cab driver noticed her violin, and in the course of their conversation learned about her new job. He told her, “You know, I really should get to the symphony more; I hardly ever go. I probably don’t attend more than one or two concerts a month!”

      • Luigi Nonono says:

        Average Americans used to go at least once a year or more, to hear their favorite symphony. Declining income works against that, and the total absence of classical music on television, etc. ensures that. Back when we had four networks, and cultural programming lived every Sunday and other times, people were constantly exposed to the classical arts, and as a result, went to the orchestra, ballet, concerts and even to opera.

    • Wladek says:

      The list means absolutely nothing except that these
      organizations exist.It is much like a magician and
      his card tricks.Can mean anything you wish it to
      mean.Moscow is not Baltimore.Budapest is not
      Baltimore. Mr. Osborne like a certain operatic character has his little list which he always draws on to prove absolutely nothing .Americans do not
      go into paroxysms of denial and rationalizations
      except to perhaps note how faulty is the list .
      C’mon Mr. Osborne your thread bare observations
      have seen their day,time for a new approach ……….

    • Luigi Nonono says:

      That is incredible. Some cities have two orchestras, or one apiece as in the Twin Cities. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is actually three or four orchestras, at least in the summertime, with the BSO at Tanglewood, Boston Pops, Boston Esplanade Orchestra and the touring Boston Pops and Esplanade Orchestras which can be multiple entities, thus employing a huge number of part-time members. And is there a full-time opera and/or ballet orchestra, too? Certainly a number of part-time orchestras. Boston outdoes most cities in America. New York used to have many part-time orchestras and a full-timeish chamber orchestra. Philadelphia has a couple of part-time chamber orchestras, or one chamber orchestra that might be considered full-time. There used to be additional part-time groups as well, but many suburban “civic” orchestras employ professionals, too. But there is no actual Civic orchestra in the city.

  • John Sorel says:

    These situations don’t happen overnight, if there has not been any substantial change in the conditions. Are these new auditors, who have just been appointed? You would expect a least a note of warning in the previous year’s accounts? Along with some recommendations (if they are worthwhile auditors).

    Were there no Management Accounts (monthly) being compiled for the management? You would think this would be a minimum requirement for a public organisation – let alone the accounting requirements imposed by sponsors or other funding bodies.

    • Luigi Nonono says:

      I have been told by a former player, that these conditions have always existed in Baltimore, it has always been poorly funded and mismanaged. So what is different now? A climate that permits this kind of treatment. But where does it stem from? Perhaps a management model somebody spawned and spread, that caught on with administrations even though it failed miserably everywhere it was employed. Perhaps the (former) ASOL is entirely to blame, for their conferences are the most likely culprit in spreading this economic evil among management people (using the term loosely). I’d like to hear from some of those types of people and the ASOL and whether I am correct or not. Or maybe it’s coming from Wharton and other schools whether teaching Arts Administration or not. That needs much investigation. What are they being taught?

  • fflambeau says:

    Sound like the orchestra should dump the idiotic and incompetent board and run the show themselves.

    • Anon says:

      Yes. Like the LSO, who is self governing. They seem to be doing well, and the pay is streets ahead of any other British orchestra!

  • fflambeau says:

    Note that the edited audit (not a full one) was released just 2 days before talks between the orchestra and its board are set to resume. It’s a bargaining ploy.

  • Namesake says:

    Hot from the press:–wI1jSmndC0oiY6Y

    “Even as he sought more state funding, the CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra asked Gov. Larry Hogan to deliver the money with a scripted message calling on BSO management to quickly take steps to fix the orchestra’s finances, emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun show.”

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    If this report was done in AUG 2018 why did it take so long to come out to the public?

  • SoCal Dan says:

    For a not-for-profit organization like the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the auditor report is directed primarily at banks and other lenders. A report that expresses “substantial uncertainty about the BSO’s ability to continue as a going concern” will, at a minimum, increase borrowing costs, and it may also preclude some financial institutions from participating in any loan to the organization.

    The BSO is likely to use the auditor report as leverage to obtain additional funding from the state and city governments and from private donors, in addition to spurring the kind of cost-cutting initiatives mentioned by others in this blog-post.

  • Bob says:

    If orchestras did something other than play Tchaikovsky 4, Beethoven 5, Brahms 2, Mahler 1, Schubert 9, Shostakovich 5, etc etc. Every year is another performance of a piece they’ve played 2 or 3 years before.

    • MacroV says:

      I have to defend the Baltimore SO on programming. This past year I heard about a half-dozen of their programs, in works like Turangalilia, Sibelius 6/7 (probably the least played), Schoenberg’s Pelleas, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (played less than it deserves because of the second part of the hyphenation), most of which I’d never heard live in 30+ years of concertgoing. The most warhorse thing I heard was Mahler 9, which most orchestras outside the Big 5 rarely play more than once a decade, if even that.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    If you ignore the Mahler 1 that’s listed first, you’ll see on this discography that the BSO is not exactly guilty of same-as-always repertoire.^10+title^20+text&defType=dismax&q=baltimore%20symphony%20orchestra&fq=list_price:[0+TO+550]&start=0&rows=20&searchSrc=Classical

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    It’s interesting that this thread drew the attention of so many negative views, unusual for this site. It makes me wonder why.

  • Mark (London) says:

    So the players whining about pay and conditions will eventually mean the end of the orchestra! That will be their legacy

  • Saxon Broken says:

    “substantial uncertainty about the BSO’s ability to continue as a going concern”

    This is standard in all financial reports for organisations that rely on donor funding: it is always theoretically possible that there will be no money next year. Something like that is written into Chelsea Football Club’s report every year (but Abromovich is unlikely to leave anytime soon).

  • Matt DeNero says:

    Why does the US have so few orchestras? Because orchestras are an urban amenity, and US cities have grown by taking in too many immigrants with little interest in such things. In the “good old days”, many immigrants revered this music as much as the upper crust. They would listen on the radio and diligently save their pennies to attend concerts themselves. In time some of them, or their children, became the core audience.

    American cities today are all the same. They are a multicultural stew of nothingness, with an elite of white progressives so indoctrinated in self-loathing and cultural Marxism that they might as well commit mass suicide. Grown men who line up for every new super hero movie. Women who resent the genius of the dead white males. Rampant identity politics.

    The only thing the new urbanites have in common is materialism and status, making designer sewage at trendy bars and restaurants. Some appreciate the arts, but it’s hard to imagine them supporting art of enduring value. Hollywood and Broadway are as high as it goes.

    Most of the people who would support orchestras have dispersed far and wide through the metropolitan areas, where at least there is some peace and quiet.

    And you shouldn’t be too smug – this is happening in Europe, too. London used to have three great orchestras. Now they have one great orchestra and several fading ones. Vienna used to have the VPO and the VSO, but it’s easy to imagine a time in the not-too-distant-future where the VSO is gone and the VPO is under siege by the multiculturalists.

    Please wake up, Europe, and don’t do what we did. Oops…too late.