Is The Chicago Symphony’s Plight Dire?

Jeremy Grant reports that the Chicago Symphony’s financial fortunes are precarious and worrisome. “Due to factors mostly out of [music director Daniel] Barenboim’s control, the CSO faces possibly the most serious financial crisis in its 112-year history. With the US economy in recession, ticket sales are flat and subscriptions are falling. Plunging stock market values have eroded the value of the orchestra’s endowment fund and new corporate and individual sponsorships have all but dried up. This year’s budget is likely to balance, but only because of a one-off draw-down from the endowment. Management predicts the orchestra is likely to swing into a deficit of about $4m-$5m (£2.5m-£3.1m) next year, having slumped to $6.1m in 2002.”