Cultivation of the Orchestra

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by robertwhite, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    561
    20
    Nov 11, 2003
    Hi Manny,

    I was wondering if you had insights as to the growth of the orchestra over time: length of season, pay, endowment, etc. I'm curious as to how Minnesota's evolved over the years into the (relatively) stable, well-paying job it is now.

    Here in Charlotte, the orchestra's been in solid budgetary shape for years, but we have a very small endowment and most of the annual budget is wrapped up in player's salaries - which have not seen much of an increase in many years. Furthermore, our board seems as a whole to be very reticent to take on any planned deficits, which some people feel would be necessary for growth.

    Any thoughts about this or player/management relations in general?

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
    10
    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    "I was wondering if you had insights as to the growth of the orchestra over time: length of season, pay, endowment, etc. I'm curious as to how Minnesota's evolved over the years into the (relatively) stable, well-paying job it is now. Here in Charlotte, the orchestra's been in solid budgetary shape for years, but we have a very small endowment and most of the annual budget is wrapped up in player's salaries - which have not seen much of an increase in many years. Furthermore, our board seems as a whole to be very reticent to take on any planned deficits, which some people feel would be necessary for growth.

    Any thoughts about this or player/management relations in general?"

    Dear Bob,

    An interesting question, that.

    Since I have been with the orchestra since only '81 I'll give you some perspective that's first and second hand.

    As far as notoriety is concerned the Minnesota has had two distinct periods: the Dorati era and the post de Waart era.

    Yes, there were notable MDs that were here other than Dorati. Mitropolus and Ormandy were two but the association between conductor and orchestra were never as high as during Dorati's tenure. Why? Because of the sheer amount of touring and recording that went on his time. The musicians that were here at that time were real troopers. The pay was not great but the recognition they had was worldwide.

    In the seventies, the orchestra went into that corner of obscurity that accompanies a significant name change but, like several others, developed into a 52 week season orchestra. With that also came an endowment which grew steadily.

    The endowment as a revenue source can be huge for an orchestra but it has to be mammoth for that to be dependable. An orchestra can only create an endowment when it proves consistently that it is a permanent entity and isn't going away. People won't give, otherwise.

    The single biggest support we've had is the guarranty fund which is huge. Anyone can be a guarantor and there are many levels of giving. They also get there own private concert every year.

    We have a lot of very "old" money here : Target, General Mills, Pillsbury, Honeywell, etc. The corporate donations we've gotten have been a vital part of the growth we've seen in the last thirty years.

    Now we have a deficit but we'll be out of it in about 2 to 3 years. Everybody's cut back to help out.

    Player/management relations aren't any worse or better than anywhere else. We've engaged in the "interest based" bargaining and it's worked well. This last time we didn't. There are great managers and jerks. There are wonderful colleagues and jerks. Round and round she goes...

    ML
     

Share This Page